Daily Trust (Abuja)

25 October 2012

Nigeria: Europe Killing Local Cocoa Market - Farmers

Calabar — Chairman of Cross River State branch of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria Nana Alphonsus has raised alarm that too much influence and overriding European decisions on the prices of cocoa from the country will soon kill the business if nothing is done now.

In an interview with our correspondent in Ikom, where cocoa is popularly grown, Nana said the Europeans determine prices of cocoa that emanate from the country, stressing that this was dangerous for the growth and future of cocoa business because local farmers and merchants are left at the mercies of this foreign cocoa cabals.

He said, "prices are determined by the Euro terminal market. The producer has no influence because he produces what he does not consume and he is compelled to sell even when the market is saturated."

The cocoa boss also lamented that the Cross River State government was placing too much taxation on the local farmers and merchants and this is also making the cocoa business not to thrive beyond the local markets.

He maintained that these multiple taxes reduce farmers' income so that they are unable to increase their production.

"These taxes have reduced our members' economic outlay and stagnated the national economy," he said.

Pleading with the state government to help the local cocoa farmers make marginal gains, Nana also called on the Federal Government to invest more in the cocoa business and provide extension services as these could provide sustainable employment and also become another dependable income earner for the country.

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