The news that the EU plans to ban the export of cocoa from Nigeria has been debunked by Mr. Mufutau Abolarinwa, the National President of the Nigerian Cocoa Association.
Abolarinwa claimed that the news of the European Union’s planned ban, which was circulating in some media, contained no iota of truth.
He clarified this in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) on Saturday in Akure.
“Not to talk or think of a ban,” Abolarinwa said, adding that the issue had never been discussed at the Council of the International Cocoa Organization.
He advised the spreaders of the false story to stop, calling it “completely unpatriotic” and claiming that “Nigerian cocoa has the best aroma in the world.”
He claimed that the claim that cocoa producers did not meet the EU’s maximum residue limits for agricultural produce was a fabrication.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve received a flood of calls and inquiries regarding misinformation being spread on traditional and social media platforms that Europe is planning to ban or has already banned the export of Nigerian cocoa.
“According to the reports, Nigerian cocoa producers do not meet the EU’s maximum residue limits for agricultural products, including cocoa, and the EU has issued a notification to that effect.”
“The Nigerian Cocoa Association wishes to state unequivocally that no such decision has been made by the EU or any other country.”
“The President of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria is a member of the International Cocoa Organisation’s (ICCO) Council, which discusses and agrees on all international regulations for the implementation of cocoa, and no such issue has ever been brought before the ICCO.”
“The Cocoa Association of Nigeria, which was founded in 1986 as the umbrella body for all cocoa stakeholders from research to farming, input provision, trade, export, processing, manufacture, and consumption, has received no such communication.”
“We can confidently state that Nigeria was never on any cocoa importing or consuming country’s red list, then or now.”
“We can’t deny the fact that poor, adulterated, and sometimes abused pesticides have been used in cocoa production.”
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“However, things are rapidly improving with regular interaction with farmers, increased training for exporters, and capacity building among farmers on best agricultural practices in cocoa,” he said.
Despite the industry’s neglect and myriad of challenges, Abolarinwa stated that it remained the country’s top non-crude oil foreign exchange earning commodity.
“From the sale of cocoa beans and secondary products, we contribute more than N400 billion to the national economy every year.”
“There are over 500,000 cocoa farmers, 100,000 factors, and licensed buying agents in 14 major cocoa-producing states.”
“There are over 20 foreign exporters and nearly 50 major local cocoa exporters,” he said, “all of whom employ hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.”