In a bid to revive the ailing cocoa Industry in the country, Afreximbank and the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) have partnered with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) on possible ways of intervention and development of the cocoa industry in Nigeria.
The Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEXIM Bank, Bashir Wali, while welcoming the group led by the Regional Head of Project Finance Afreximbank, Kofi Adumaku, and Mr Kurama of the Bank of Agriculture, expressed great delight at the initiative organised by Afreximbank, Government of Nigeria and the International Cocoa Organization towards reviving the cocoa industry in Nigeria.
Wali, in a statement, further explained that NEXIM Bank as an export credit institution charged with the mandate to promote export diversification of the non-oil sector had in the past supported the cocoa value chain by funding major cocoa processing plants such as Ile –Oluji, Multi –Trex and Stan Mark under the ADB/ESL facility and stated that the story of the cocoa industry, especially as it relates to processing, in Nigeria cannot be told without the mention of NEXIM Bank.
In his response, Kofi Adumaku indicated that Nigeria has been the sleeping giant in the industry, having lost its former enviable position of being the largest producer of cocoa in the world, to the 4th largest producer after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia.
He informed the NEXIM Bank that that a decision has been reached by the Federal Government in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders in the industry to come up with a five-year strategic plan towards the revamping and sustained development of the cocoa industry in Nigeria.
According to him, “…there is a need to begin to support projects in the sector to make them viable again.”
He further stated that even though funding and cost of funding are major issues in the industry, relevant development financial institutions such as NEXIM Bank, AfreximBank, Bank of Agriculture and the Bank of Industry should team up towards providing the relevant support needed to develop the industry.