The Key Pillars Shaping the Future of Cocoa and its Transformational Potentials

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The Managing Director of Sunbeth Global Concepts Limited, Olasunkanmi Owoyemi, was a panelist at the recently concluded International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum (ICCF 2024) which held in Abuja and Lagos on 9th January 2024 and 11th January 2024 respectively. Themed ‘Putting Value in Cocoa at Producing Regions, the forum was organized by the International Cocoa Diplomacy (ICD) in partnership with Nigerian Export and Import Bank, (NEXIM) Bank and Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, (CRIN). The forum brought together stakeholders such as policymakers, financial institutions and players in the cocoa value chain to exploit ways of taking advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other emerging cocoa and chocolate markets in order to optimize the potentials of the industry. The insightful discussions at the forum explored diverse perspectives on how policy formation can meet investment requirements to create the cocoa culture that will begin to intentionally add value to cocoa and create wealth at origin in order reduce dominance of the industry by consuming regions.

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Speaking on the panel session themed “The Future of Cocoa and its Transformational Potentials”, the MD noted that policies, credit, education and research are four key pillars that would shape the future of cocoa and its transformational potentials. On policies, he mentioned that for the cocoa industry to thrive, the government needs to introduce policies that would properly govern operations across the industry and safeguard the interests of the local players. He emphasized credit as another crucial pillar which he described as the bedrock of prosperity. He also added that the credit system needs to be more supportive of smallholder farmers by providing them easier access to finance for seedlings and other enabling inputs for cocoa production. The MD also encouraged investment in research by funding bodies such as Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria which he raised as another essential pillar. Lastly, the MD added that education is a crucial pillar that would shape the future of the cocoa industry as it is through this people get to understand industry best practices and improve their quality of outputs. 

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By prioritizing these pillars, he expressed confidence that the cocoa industry would significantly contribute to generating employment for millions of people and huge tax returns for the government.

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