By Obafemi Oredein
The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) is advocating for the reintroduction of a commodity board to regulate and develop the country’s cocoa sector. However, CFAN President Adeola Adegoke emphasized that the new board should not engage in the buying and selling of cocoa.
Since the dissolution of the commodity board in 1986 and the subsequent total deregulation of the cocoa sector, Adegoke argues that the industry has stagnated, lacking progress in quality, production, productivity, and fair market mechanisms to support farmers. Smallholder cocoa farmers have shouldered the burden of production costs without significant support from the government.
Adegoke points out that both Ghana and Ivory Coast have retained their cocoa boards, which have helped drive higher cocoa production in those countries. In light of this, CFAN supports the reinstatement of a cocoa commodity board in Nigeria. However, the association does not advocate for granting purchasing power to this newly created body.
In the past, when the board existed, it served as the sole buyer and exporter of Nigerian cocoa and provided farmers with subsidized chemicals while monitoring production quality.