Calls On State Government To Adopt Products For School Feeding Programme To Boost Children’s Brain Power
Nigeria’s quest to maintain her place as a leading player in the global cocoa industry has received a boast with the expansion of the value chain through development of a number of nutritious edibles from cocoa bean and bye products.
The consumables from cocoa and others from cashew, kola, coffee and tea were displayed during an Exhibition in Lagos by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan.
Speaking at the occasion, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, believed that the value addition on the affected crops would bring about increased job and wealth creation for Nigerians, in addition to addressing nutritional deficiencies among both children and adult citizens.
“The expansion of the value chain is good as it will bring about value addition to what we produce. Its like throwing money away if we export the crops raw. So we appreciate the fact that Cocoa can be transformed into consumables that can be picked from the store”, said the commissioner who was represented by the State Director of Agric business, Mrs Aramide Dansalu.
She also hoped that the research products, particularly those from cocoa would go a long way in bringing the commodity to consumers while promising that, “I will visit the extension officers and make sure they take these products to farmers; let them know that Cocoa can be put to many uses that can bring more money to them
“We appreciate CRIN for having this seminar in Lagos and stepping down all the value added products, so that they can be taken out to the end users. We appreciate you for coming, we appreciate you for having Lagos State in mind and we are ready to partner with you”.
The Executive Director, CRIN, Dr. Patrick Adebola, in a remark harped on the importance of the products, saying their health benefits ranged from reducing hypertension, curing diabetes as well as serving as antidote to malaria symptoms and boosting the brain function.
Dr. Adebola charged investors to take up the responsibility of mass production to further increase the volume of the nation’s agro products for export and for local Consumption thereby enhancing the economy.
He said, “The Cocoa Research Institute was established in 1964 to carry out research and development in 5 major crops and one of them is Cocoa. As we all know, cocoa is one product that has good Foreign Exchange earning to the country. Infact, it occupies number one spot
“The benefits of cocoa and cocoa products are enormous. Among the products is cocoa chocolate, a beverage that is made from cocoa and the health benefits cannot be overemphasised. Today, we are showcasing what the institute has done as regards the use of products of Cocoa.
“We have displayed varieties of bye products from cocoa. The intention is to disseminate this to the community and to Nigerians in general to see if there are investors that will be interested in coming to take up these technologies that have been in our shelves.
“The products are up to twenty (20) ranging from cocoa powder to cocoa cream, cocoa wine, cocoa juice and others that we have displayed.
“When this happens, it will translate into increasing the economic prospect of the individuals that will take up the technologies. Apart from that , we are encouraging the local consumption of cocoa products. We should not only rely on exporting the beans to European and American markets. If we increase the local consumption, it will translate into economic benefits to all the farmers that are planting Cocoa. It will also generate a lot of employment locally. When we are exporting the raw beans, we are exporting jobs. So that is why we are out today to showcase what CRIN has done, has been doing and we are calling on would-be entrepreneurs to come and take up some of the technologies that we have produced over the years”
In a remark, CRIN Head Extension Section, Mr Anthony Agbons stated that the institute was given five mandates from the Federal Government aimed at increasing the uptake of cocoa products.
Mr. Agbons called on the government in Lagos to adopt some of the products for its school feeding programme, explaining that a particular product from cocoa contains the needed nutrients that boost brain power and that if used in feeding school children could enhance their ability to learn.
He emphasised that, “Lagos State can benefit from the products. They can use it for school feeding programme. Lagos can take up the production; let it be used to feed the students and pupils, it boosts the brain and the power to study.
“We have started it in Osun state. Take up some of these technologies and it will help create jobs and increase livelihoods.
“We have up to 20 products, including cocoa bread, tea and wine; cashew wine, cola wine, tea wine, cocoa butter cream and milk chocolate, and we also have liquid soap. I will like to mention that the Federal Government gave us mandate to do research on five crops. From the five crops, these products are produced. At least these products could be used for employment.
“We have to showcase our research products to sensitise the public, create awareness about their existence and that anybody, organisations, business men and women that are interested in any of these products can come and uptake it.
“In CRIN, we produce in small quantity, so come and take it up and commercialise , produce in mass and put your own name and that of CRIN.
“The procedure for doing this is very simple. You can come to CRIN and we discuss and you are good to go”, Mr. Agbons added
The exhibition programme was graced by many dignitaries including an extensionist from Nigeria institute of oceanography and marine research, Dr Ikeyoweto Omobogogu; Acting Director of extension service,Lagos Agric Development, Mrs Ebota Olushola,among others.
Nigeria has been a major exporter of premium quality raw cocoa beans renowned for its aromatic and smoother flavour.
The nation’s cocoa industry which is reported to be dominated by smallholder farmers numbering 300,000 to 350,000 is the fourth in the world,covering 6.5% share of global production.
The industry has been projected to grow by 4% per annum in coming years.