The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has restated its commitment to support Nigerian farmers in boosting cocoa production as the nation strives to diversify its oil-based economy.
According to USAID’s Director of Economic Growth and Environment, Mathew Burton, cocoa is Nigeria’s key export that urgently needs to be developed. More so, prices of oil which is the country’s major revenue earner have dropped.
He noted that increase in the production of cocoa will also boost local and international consumption of the product.
“The U. S. Government, through the USAID, will continue to support Nigerian farmers in the development of the cocoa sector due to current fall in the prices of oil,” Burton told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“We think the time is ripe for diversification in Nigeria’s economy.
“The USAID is very much interested in supporting Nigerian Government’s effort at diversifying her economy.
“And cocoa as we all know is one of Nigeria’s key exports, with a high global demand and prices.
“So, there are obviously opportunities for Nigeria to explore in the development of her cocoa sector,” he said.
Burton said that USAID was already working with Nigeria’s small holder farmers as well as bringing in large scale investment for the development of the sector which has suffered from under-investment in the last 10 to 15 years.