The Federal Government, in collaboration with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), has assured that Nigeria will soon become the largest cocoa producer and return into exportation of the products going by research efforts to improve production.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, stated this, yesterday, at the presentation of cocoa production update by Cocoa Soil Group in Abuja.

While disclosing the progress being made by researchers to improve cocoa practice suction in the country, Abubakar said researchers have come up with some research work used to develop the cocoa production update manual.

He said: “Researchers have also gone to find out why cocoa production is not at utmost best here, because we have all it takes to be the best. From what has been carried out, we have identified the pitfalls. With this manual, we will return to exporting cocoa, it will become better than what we used to be.”

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Explaining further, Abubakar said Nigeria should be the best cocoa producing country in the world, because it can be grown in many parts of the country.

“Now it is time for us to start exporting cocoa powder so that we can increase the value chain, income for the farmers.”

He however said there are upcoming programmes that are also in line with the cocoa industry, such as the special agro industrial processing zone.

“We are seeing what is happening in other countries, and we will replicate it here. In the industry part, farmers will bring their raw materials to be processed, from there it will be exported”, the Minister said.

The Chairman, Partnership for Development (P4D) committee, Frank Kudla disclosed that the Cocoa Soil project is led by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (STI), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in collaboration with Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in the target countries including, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroun.

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The project, according to him, is targeted at investing in research and development of cocoa and improves Partnership for Development (P4D) adding that the R and D component is geared towards acquiring more knowledge in cocoa management and nutrient improvement.