(1) Nigeria is the world’s fifth largest cocoa producer with an annual crop of about 250,000 tonnes. There are plans to radically expand this to at least 500,000 tonnes soon
(2) West Africa dominates the global cocoa industry as Ivory Coast and Ghana are the world’s numbers one and two producers. Ideally, our region should be the global centre of cocoa research covering everything including seedlings, pesticides, herbicides, machinery manufacturing, processing techniques, chocolate technology, etc
(3) All over the world, farmers are coming up with new machines and devices that reduce waste, cut production costs and improve yields. This cocoa shelling machine is one such example of contraptions introduced to boost agriculture
(4) Why Nigeria is not manufacturing this kind of machine in its millions is one of the faultlines that runs through our economy. There is no way you can dominate a sector if you are reliant on others developing machinery to run it for you
(5) Nigeria is also the world’s number one producer of yam, cassava, kolanuts, cashews, cocoyam, melon seed, bitter leaf, agbalumo, shea nuts, etc. Ask yourselves how many processing machines we manufacture to convert these crops into finished products
(6) We are actually a very innovative people and I am sure many bright sparks across the country have come up with all sorts of designs. However, we lack the capacity to turn prototypes into large scale mass production of finished goods
(7) There is really only so much the government can do when a nation lacks an indigenous class of industrialists and manufacturers. We all like to blame the government but hey, no ministry owns factories and manufacturing plants. Whatever plans the government comes up with, it needs manufacturers to produce them
(8) When I look at Nigeria today, the only two industrial concerns I can see are Dangote Industries and Innoson Motors. Is there anyone else who can be given a prototype of a machine and asked to go away and produce 1m units within six months?
(9) For me, this is where the Nigerian educated elite are criminally negligent. They are happy to import equipment, love throwing parties abroad, wear designer clothing manufactured elsewhere and are quick to fly to Europe for medical check-ups. However, when have the members of any elite gathering like say the Lagos Island Club, the Yoruba Tennis Club or any of our illustrious alumni associations ever passed a resolution compelling themselves to manufacture a certain number of machines every year?
(10) This intellectual laziness cuts across the board. For instance, can anyone tell me why the alumni associations of our girls schools have not conducted research into producing sanitary towels unique to our tropical conditions? Ideally, every Nigerian school girl should be given free sanitary towels manufactured locally as it is not as if this is something they chose to do. I believe that if they put their heart to this, the alumni associations of say Reagan Baptist Girls School, Methodist Girls, Queens College, St Anne’s, Holy Child, etc could easily establish such a plant