Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria's Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, says that in the 60s and 70s Nigeria had one of the top cocoa industries. And even though they are still one of the highest cocoa producers they don’t gain full rewards as they export most of it.
“You see the value of cocoa beans is roughly about 10 billion dollars, but the value addition even just from chocolate alone is more than 100 billion dollars. That tells you that we’re only getting a fragment, a small proportion, of the total value,” said Aganga.
Aganga says as part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, in order for the country to reach economic and revenue diversification they cannot rely predominantly on oil.
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, says that one of the key elements necessary for Nigeria to become a global player in the cocoa industry is concise planning.
“The plan has a clear strategy that we are going to raise our cocoa production as a country from 250 thousand metric tons annually to about 500 thousand metric tons by 2015,” he said.
(READ MORE: Ebola outbreak may destroy world’s major cocoa suppliers)
Adesina says the strategy includes looking at how the country can add value to the cocoa industry, producing products such as cocoa butter, liquor and chocolate.
“The size of that market (chocolate) is over 80 billion dollars every year. Farmers of West Africa don’t get more than three to six per cent of that market. Where Europe and the United States, who don’t grow it, make most of the money,” said Adesina.
“I mean I love chocolate but I’d rather have Nigerian chocolates than the ones that I buy in Switzerland,” he added.