A $22 million food initiative for Nigerian cocoa producers has been unveiled by the US Department of Agriculture.
About 68,000 cocoa farmers in the states of Osun, Ekiti, Abia, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Ondo have so far been selected as project beneficiaries under the agreement.
Over the course of the next five years, the Food for Progress initiative, where cocoa cultivation is rather common, will be conducted in six states in southern Nigeria.
Beneficiaries of the initiative will have easier access to higher-quality agricultural inputs, greater technical resources, capacity-building, post-harvest processing, and export marketing.
The project will be carried out in collaboration with an international non-governmental organization, Lutheran World Relief, according to a statement from the US Consulate.
The Food for Progress Program will focus on farmers in high-density, high-productivity regions as well as farmers in low-productivity but very prospective locations, according to the US consulate.
The consulate stated that the main goal of the Food for Progress program is to boost cocoa yield by utilizing climate-smart agriculture practices.
Gerald Smith, the U.S. Mission’s Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, stated that the project would use a strategy that would allow farmers to produce more cocoa while preserving the fertility and biodiversity of the soil.
The United States has launched the Food for Progress program to assist developing nations in enhancing their agriculture sector.
The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) recently made a commitment to fulfill the 500,000 tonne production target for cocoa beans in the next two years and to make Nigeria the top producer of the commodity in West Africa by the end of that period.
Nigeria’s economy is heavily dependent on cocoa output. Nigeria is the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer.
However, the nation’s output is much below that of Ghana and Ivory Coast, which together account for more over 50% of global production.