From: Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja.
Fresh facts have shown that the neglect suffered by the cocoa sub-sector led to a sharp drop in its annual production from 420,000 metric tons in 1960 to 193,000 metric tons in 2015.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, said Nigeria ranked seventh in the world cocoa production as against the fourth position maintained years ago.
She was speaking during a media chat on the first international cocoa summit holding later this month in Abuja.
She explained that the summit would open up global opportunities to both local and foreign investors to invest in the country’s cocoa industry and develop a national cocoa road map with a view to achieving 500,000 metric tons and above production and processing to 50 percenr while consuming about 20 percent annual production in 2021.
In a related development, Abubakar disclosed that the ministry would organize Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) seminar with a view to reaching out to African and overseas countries with a view to building partnership.
Throwing more light on the seminar, Abdulkadir Musafari, consultant to the SME project, stated that over 20 countries indicated interest to participate.
He said they included South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, China and India, explaining that all the parastatals from the ministry would participate while SMEDAN would also send participants.