Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has declared the state’s ambition to become a central hub for cocoa processing and trade in Nigeria. Speaking at the International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum 2024 in Lagos, the Governor highlighted the state’s strategic geographical position and robust infrastructure as key factors in achieving this goal.
The event, organized in partnership with the Nigerian Export and Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, saw Governor Sanwo-Olu represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade, and Investment, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem.
Sanwo-Olu emphasized Lagos as a trade hub for value addition, with its ports providing an excellent platform for exporting processed cocoa products globally. He outlined a comprehensive roadmap, aiming to increase local cocoa processing to 40% of total production, establish three major cocoa processing plants in Lagos, each with a 10,000 metric tons annual capacity, and empower over 20,000 cocoa agro-processors and SMEs by 2025.
The Governor stressed the need for collective efforts and strategic partnerships to transform Nigeria’s cocoa sector, making it a more value-added and prosperous industry. He underlined the importance of such transformation in generating higher revenue, creating jobs, alleviating poverty, diversifying the economy, and fostering overall development.
Against the backdrop of economic challenges and the declining value of the national currency, Sanwo-Olu expressed confidence in Lagos State’s vision and resources, committing to lead the transformation. He urged collaboration for a sustainable and prosperous future for the cocoa industry, the economy, and the people.
The forum’s Special Guest of Honour, Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, represented by Commissioner Tola Faseru, emphasized the need for improved infrastructure, including better roads for transporting cocoa beans and reliable electricity and water supply for processing plants.
In a keynote address, the Minister of the Environment, Mallam Balarabe Abbas Lawal, represented by Director Olusola Margaret Akinyemi, underscored the importance of collective efforts among stakeholders for cocoa production development and its transformation into various derivatives in Nigeria. The minister highlighted the significance of sustainable farming practices and the circular economy in achieving these goals.