The Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has described the motion sponsored by Representative Bamidele Salam on the need to support cocoa processing company Ede and other cocoa processing firms in Nigeria, as very important.

The Speaker said the motion when implemented will add greater impetus to the economic diversification efforts.

He made the declaration Tuesday shortly after the motion was moved on the floor of the House by the lawmaker representing the fantastic people of Ede north, Ede south, Egbedore and Ejigbo federal constituency of Osun state.

“Thank you Honourable Salam for this important motion that speaks to our diversification efforts”, the Speaker said.

After the motion was seconded by Hon. Mukhtar Ladan (APC, Kaduna) it was put to vote during which it enjoyed overwhelming acceptance.

Moving the motion, Rep. Salam noted that Ede Cocoa Processing Company, situated in Ede, Osun State was established on October 17 1982, to process and refine Cocoa from harvest to products of high standard and exports.

He further noted that from 2001 to 2015, the Ede Cocoa Processing Company became moribund even as the industry that has hitherto been a model and part of the industrialization sector of Osun State pointing out that the company became obsolete with equipment worth millions of naira becoming ineffective.

The federal lawmaker expressed worry that Nigerian is currently one of the highest importers of cocoa products in the world and in order to stop this importation, there is serious need to resuscitate the comatose cocoa industries across the federation. According to him, resuscitation of the companies and the internal production of cocoa products can create more jobs and generate revenue for the federation.

Rep. Salam said he was disturbed that if nothing is done to encourage the Ede Cocoa Processing Company and to rejig and resuscitate the Ile Oluji Nigeria Limited, one of the Nigeria’s oldest cocoa processing firm, FTN Cocoa Processors PLC, and Multi-Trex Integrated Foods PLC; Nigeria might reverse back to its status of cocoa exporting country instead of cocoa processing country that can reduce unemployment and rate of insecurity in Nigeria.

The honourable House consequently urged the Federal Government to establish a National Cocoa Processing Intervention Fund and resuscitate the Nigerian cocoa processing industry and mandate the committee on Agriculture production and services and committee on Industry to interface with Ede Cocoa Processing Company and other cocoa processing companies to collate basic challenges that are hindering their smooth operations and report back to the house within 4-weeks for further legislative action.

The rest of the motion reads:

Aware that: In 2016, the Osun State Government in partnership with Skyrun Cocoa Processing Company rejigged the industry for optimum performance. The partnership yielded positive results with processing capacity of 20,000 tonne of Cocoa daily, for processing to various kinds of products;

Further aware that: Ede Cocoa Processing Company, Osun State is one of the five Cocoa processing industries that exports butter, cake, powder, and chocolate and it is one of the fastest selling and most desirable agricultural commodities in the international market due to the rapid growth and expansion of chocolate confectioneries and other products;

Concerned that: Ile Oluji Nigeria Limited, one of the Nigeria’s oldest cocoa processing firm as of 2018 has only processed 2,000 metric tons of Cocoa, which is by far below its capacity of 30,000 metric tons daily;

Further concerned that: FTN Cocoa Processors PLC, a company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a 20,000MT processing capacity showed that it can only process 600MT between January and June, 2018;

Worried that: Multi-Trex Integrated Foods PLC, Nigeria’s largest cocoa processing factory with a production capacity of 65,000MT per annum, has since been shut down and thereafter taken over by the Asset Management Corporation Organisation of Nigeria (AMCON) over a N5 billion non-performing loan.