WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announce $1.2 million in new funding to provide assistance to 70,000 cocoa farming households in at least 10 Nigerian states by 2015. The program will focus on business skills trainings and support for diversification of rural economies in order to increase cocoa farm household incomes. The program is expected to generate benefits for more than 480,000 Nigerians and help double household incomes within the next five to six years. Nigeria's Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, made the announcement today at WCF's 23rd Annual Partnership Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Commenting on the partnership, WCF President Bill Guyton said, "The World Cocoa Foundation and our company members are grateful for the confidence placed in us by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, state governments and non-government institutions and are excited about this opportunity to expand services to thousands of small scale farmers in the cocoa-producing states of Nigeria."
The Nigerian partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and WCF builds upon the foundation of the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WCF member companies with partners from the German Development Agency GIZ and SOCODEVI. This partnership will ensure that the Nigerian program benefits from lessons already learned through CLP's engagement in other West African cocoa-producing countries.
"Nigeria has a history of a prosperous, viable and vibrant cocoa industry in the past. The cocoa industry provided us with foreign exchange and revenue, which built for us our enduring infrastructure, institutions and edifices," Minister Adesina noted.
In carrying out the program activities, WCF will closely collaborate with Nigerian federal and state institutions, with active involvement of the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture's Cocoa Division, its Cocoa Transformation Agenda Team, and other local institutions. The Cocoa Transformation Team will lead and provide guidance and oversight on the overall program coordination, and will assist implementing partners with advice on specific technical issues, identification of innovative technologies, and leveraging other complementary programs.
"The federal government is developing partnerships with countries and investors that are ready to invest in Nigeria. We are adopting the value chain approach from input supply to support on-farm production to value addition, local consumption and export of produce and products. Our goal is to eventually account for at least 25 per cent of the world market, with an output of 500,000 MT by 2015, as we aim at the 1.0 million MT mark," Minister Adesina continued.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation of more than 100 companies that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. WCF's membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.
SOURCE World Cocoa Foundation