Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, revealed these initiatives at the International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum held in Lagos.
Representing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Ambrose-Medebem highlighted the administration’s vision to capitalize on the state’s strategic geographical location, aiming to transform Lagos into a key cocoa trading hub within Nigeria.
The government also aims to train and empower approximately 20,000 cocoa agro-processors and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2025 through various programs.
“We are already working on a strategic roadmap to explore the potentials of cocoa, increasing its local processing to 40% of total production,” Ambrose-Medebem stated. The ambitious plan includes the establishment of three major cocoa processing plants, each with a minimum annual processing capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes.
Emphasizing the benefits of cocoa processing, the Commissioner stressed the importance of strategic partnerships within the cocoa value chain to generate revenue, create jobs, and contribute to economic diversification and development.
The declining global ranking of Nigeria in cocoa production, falling behind Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Indonesia, underscores the urgency for such initiatives.
“With this vision and resources, Lagos state is committed to leading this transformation. Together, we can create a sustainable and prosperous future for the cocoa industry, our economy, and our people,” Ambrose-Medebem declared.
Nigeria’s cocoa production has faced a significant decline over the past four decades, losing its status as the top global producer. In response, the Nigeria Export and Import Bank (NEXIM) previously launched a platform to connect cocoa farmers, aggregators, and processors across Africa, aiming to enhance value addition and promote intra-African trade in the cocoa value chain.
Recall that the Supreme Court had in its verdict yesterday affirmed the victory of Sanwo- Olu at the last general election.