Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, announced a partnership between the Nigerian Government and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) to provide $1.2 million in new funding with the aim of assisting 70,000 cocoa farming households in at least 10 Nigerian states by 2015. The program will focus on business skills trainings and support for diversification of rural economies in order to increase cocoa farm household incomes. It is expected that the program will generate benefits for more nearly 500,000 Nigerians and help double household incomes within the next five to six years.
The announcement was made at WCF’s 23rd Annual Partnership Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Commenting on the partnership, WCF President Bill Guyton said, “The World Cocoa Foundation and our company members are grateful for the confidence placed in us by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, state governments and non-government institutions and are excited about this opportunity to expand services to thousands of small scale farmers in the cocoa-producing states of Nigeria.”
The Nigerian partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and WCF builds upon the foundation of the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WCF member companies with partners from the German Development Agency GIZ and SOCODEVI. This partnership will ensure that the Nigerian program benefits from lessons already learned through CLP’s engagement in other West African cocoa-producing countries.
Minister Adesina noted that “Nigeria has a history of a prosperous, viable and vibrant cocoa industry in the past. The cocoa industry provided us with foreign exchange and revenue, which built for us our enduring infrastructure, institutions and edifices,”.
“The federal government is developing partnerships with countries and investors that are ready to invest in Nigeria. We are adopting the value chain approach from input supply to support on-farm production to value addition, local consumption and export of produce and products. Our goal is to eventually account for at least 25 per cent of the world market, with an output of 500,000 MT by 2015, as we aim at the 1.0 million MT mark,” he continued.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation of more than 100 companies that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits.
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