The Managing Director of Armajaro Nigeria Limited, Mr. Dimeji Filani, has blamed fraudulent practices by some cocoa farmers and traders for the rejection of cocoa beans from Nigeria at the international market.
Filani said this in Ijan Ekiti on Friday during the distribution of free chemicals, sprayers and other agricultural inputs to about 3,000 cocoa farmers in Ekiti State.
The company had earlier offered free training on good farming techniques to boost yield to the farmers.
But Filani said that some cocoa growers in Nigeria deliberately heaped sands and pebbles into bags of cocoa to gain advantage of weight.
He noted that this was causing buyers to reject cocoa beans exported from the country.
While advising farmers against such unscrupulous practices, he urged them to always ensure proper fermentation of their cocoa beans and to dry the seeds very well to attract buyers.
Filani said, “Nigerian cocoa is no longer sought after in the world market because it is dirty. Some of our farmers add dirty things including sand and pebbles to their cocoa to gain weight but this is causing buyers to reject the cocoa from our country.”
He explained that the company was offering free training and giving out inputs to cocoa growers in order to increase production in the country.
He said that 200,000 tonnes of cocoa was produced in Nigeria annually, adding that the company intended to increase it to 300,000 in 2013.
He appealed to the Federal Government as well as governments in all the cocoa producing states to increase their investment in cocoa production while giving them the assurance that they could generate more fund from cocoa production than what they had thought.