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Nigeria – Cocoa Crop in Decline

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Many claim that the once central industry is now the most neglected, while others eye the opportunities.

The decline in the cultivation of the crop is reportedly to due with long growing periods and impatience among the younger generation, according to President of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), Victor Iyama, who was speaking at the 2nd Daily Trust Agricultural Conference in Abuja on December 15th.

“It’s not four to six months, it is up to five years minimum but the beauty is that it can last for 70 years,” he said, adding that chocolate production generated large sums of money; out of a $120bn cocoa economy only around $15bn goes to products other than chocolate.

Iyama noted that cocoa was the second largest foreign exchange earner, next only to oil, adding that 29 states in the country can produce the crop, reported the Daily Trust.

According to Lagos-based the Guardian, a number of stakeholders in the Nigerian industry have said that it has remained the most neglected sector of the economy despite at the same time being one of the most viable industries in the world. Setbacks include the high cost of borrowing, deregulation and inconsistent government policy.

CEO of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc, Akin Laoye, explained that the deregulated environment is impeding the growth of the processing sector, adding that the cocoa sector needs some degree of regulation.

“To deepen Nigeria’s industrial base, it is counter productive to allow agricultural raw materials to be exported without adding value. Value addition will grow the industrial sector, generate employment, and enhance value of the revenue from export.” Laoye also urged government to find a lasting solution to tackle the ongoing recession, reported the Guardian.

The Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on December 15th said that Nigeria used to be a leading cocoa exported but has since fallen to seventh among exporting countries exporting 27.5m tonnes annually, in comparison to first place Cote D’Ivoire with an annual export volume of 1.75bn tonnes, reported This Day.

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CC 2015.

On December 7th AgWeb reported that the Nigerian government was preparing to capitalise the state owned Bank of Agriculture with Naira (N) 1trn (US$3.2bn) to boost the agricultural sector. “We are looking at 25 million farmers” as stakeholders or depositors, Minister Ogbeh said.

From November 8-10th a regional symposium focusing on the next generation of cocoa research for West and Central Africa was held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The symposium drew leaders from across the southwestern part of the country, the predominant area for the cultivation of cocoa, such as Ife, Oyo, Osum, Ogun, Cross River and Ondo states. The symposium drew leaders alongside academics and industry representatives to discuss research priorities and alliances to take advantage of the potential of cocoa.

According to Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), O. Olubamiwa, the Regional Cocoa Symposium is the first of its kind in Africa. “It is happening in West Africa—the hub of global cocoa production. It will highlight the diverse roles of cocoa in improving farmers’ livelihood. It is also a forum for stakeholders to synthesise ideas on sustainable cocoa production,” reported the Guardian.

However, other reports have suggested that cocoa cultivation in Ondo state appears to be waning, despite having what could mildly be described as comparative advantage. Farmers in the state accused the state government of failing to implement practical policies and programmes.

One of the cocoa farmers in Akure, the state capital, Olorunfemi Ashagi asserted that one major problem facing the growth of cocoa is finance. Another farmer expressed fear that cocoa farming in the state may soon go into extinction, as many of the young men engaged in it are increasingly to alternative livelihood opportunities, reported Leadership.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

COCOA: Côte d’Ivoire
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol. 53, Issue. 7, Pp. 21366A–21366C

NIGERIA: Recession and ‘Record’ Low Foreign Investment
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol. 53, Issue. 8, Pp.21384C–21386C

COCOA: Ghana
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol. 53, Issue. 2, Pp. 21184A–21184B

Subscribe to the Africa Research Bulletin today.

Africa – Internally Displaced Persons

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New report ‘Global Overview 2015: People Internally Displaced by Conflict and Violence’ charts soaring numbers of IDPs across Africa

The report, issued  by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, claims that a record 38 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, of which 11 million were newly displaced in 2014, largely from violent conflicts in Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.

Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General, said that “these are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signalling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians”. These figures for internally displaced persons (IDP) are more than double that of refugees, who more frequently make international news when they cross national borders.

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Source: NRC Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

While conflicts in the Middle East accounted for the largest proportion of global IDPs, conflicts in Africa also accounted for significant percentages particularly South Sudan (11.87%) , the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) (9.13%) and Nigeria (8.88%). The report provides overviews of the situation across the continent.

Central Africa, according to the report, is a hugely complex displacement situation. By the end of 2014 there were 7.9 million IDPs across Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), DR Congo, South Sudan and Sudan, comprising 70% of all forced displacement on the continent.

Displacement levels in Central Africa saw an increase of 9% between 2013 and 2014 and continue to grow; in South Sudan, the UN News Service reported on May 7th that the number of IDPs seeking refuge with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has grown to 53,000 following recent fighting.

Evidence suggests that the majority of regional conflicts occur over the control of land, resources and economic power, although the report also indicates some more unknown dynamics, highlighting that many communities undertake pendular movements from places of refuge then back to places of origin, experiencing multiple displacements. Similarly limited information exists on the effects of displacement on nomadic groups such as the Fulani herders in CAR.

In East AfricaKenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Uganda – there are estimated to be 1.9 million IDPs, with Somalia holding the largest proportion at 1.1 million. Kenya has seen a huge growth with 220,000 reported in 2014 rising from from 55,000 in 2013. According to the report, factors contributing to displacement in the region include inter-communal tensions and ethno-religious divisions, coupled with rising food insecurity. The situation is particularly stark in Somalia where IDPs are reported to have the highest levels of acute malnutrition and a Human Rights Watch report on April 20th  documented that 21,000 IDPs are being forcibly removed in the capital Mogadishu.

In West Africa – primarily Nigeria, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire – the total number of IDPs is around 1.5 million, with the newly displaced accounting for one million of this. Nigeria has the largest number of IDPs resulting predominately from Boko Haram violence which has also spilled over into Cameroon forcing the displacement of  a further 40,000 people.

The situation in North Africa is more closely tied to conflicts in the Middle East. The combined Middle-East/North Africa region has seen at least 11.9 million cumulatively displaced,  3.8 million of whom have been recently displaced. This is occurring largely in Iraq and Syria following the emergence of the Islamic State insurgency, but also in Libya where 400,000 IDPs fled in 2014, six times the amount in 2013.

However the figures cited are estimates and the IRIN explained that the actual figures could be much higher due to differences and difficulties in the way IDP data is collected. In some cases those living in designated camps can be more easily counted but are only a segment of the displaced population, as most head to urban centres and become almost invisible.

Read the full report here

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

Refugees
Political, Social  & Cultural Series
Vol.51, Issue 12, Pp. 20378c-20379c

South Sudan: Growing International and Regional Frustration
P
olitical, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.51, Issue.9, Pp.20291C-20293B

Cameroon: Boko Haram Exploits Poverty
P
olitical, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.52, Issue.3, Pp.20498A

Subscribe to the Africa Research Bulletin today