Senator Ademola Adeleke and Abandoned Ede Cocoa Processing Plant

Senator Ademola Adeleke and Abandoned Ede Cocoa Processing Plant

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Governor-elect of Osun State Senator Ademola Adeleke should consider the revival of Ede cocoa processing plant which is the first factory to produce chocolate in Nigeria which the out-going Governor Oyetola has abandoned. I want to appeal to Senator Adeleke to honour the agreement ex-Governor Rauf Aregbesola entered concerning Ede Cocoa processing plant.

The Cocoa Products Industry Nigeria Limited in Ede, Osun State (SKYRUN COCOA FACTORY) has suspended its operations. The Cocoa Products Industry Nigeria Limited in Ede, (SKYRUN COCOA FACTORY) had suspended its operations. The set of Chinese running the company abandoned it in 2018. Currently, the facilities at the company are being used as stores for COVID-19 relief items donated to the State Government of Osun. It would be recalled that the company was revived by the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration after 15-years of being in moribund state.

With a renewed effort to resuscitate cocoa cultivation, farmers across southern Nigeria are putting a structure together that will allow the region benefit from a product that gives them comparative advantage. The region is also the largest producer. To achieve this, the Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria (CPFAN) is set to set up N1.5billion processing factories for cocoa and plantain in three states of the South West. The national president of the CPFAN, Chief Ayodele Ojo, said the association would cite the factories in llaramokin in Ondo State, lle-Ife in Osun State and Iperu in Ogun. They also intend to build mega processing factories in all the six geo- political zones of the country in the nearest future.
The Osun State Government in 2017 signed an agreement worth N216bn with a Chinese firm, Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, on the establishment of an industrial park in the state. Aregbesola stated that the partnership with the Chinese firms would support the state on six different investments which include cocoa bean processing; chocolate and food processing; salt processing; cassava starch processing, gold mining and power plants and it represent a model of economic which has transited into diversification in Nigeria. While there is a decline in Nigeria’s annual production of cocoa, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, had encouraged cocoa farmers in Osun, Ondo, Edo, Delta and other southern states to boost production and this has led to the expansion of Ede cocoa processing plant, which is the only functioning plant in the country today.

Aregbesola had reignited national interest in cocoa production by partnering with a Chinese firm to reactivate Ede cocoa processing plant. Another lesson is that Aregbesola has turned cocoa to a vital product which contributes immensely to Osun economy and the welfare of the people. He has used cocoa to create an economy and other enterprises which have risen beyond producing raw cocoa by turning it into intermediate or finished products. Ede cocoa processing plant has moved from transition of a primary commodity exporter to an industrial producer. The plant has become strategic for national economic development and created incentives for the cocoa industry.

Smallholder cocoa farmers and other stakeholders were happy over the establishment of an elaborate cocoa processing plant. They were happy that the plant will be able to check the bleak future of the business which is presently facing stiff international competition as well as government overbearing influence, so the smallholder famers will stop to lament daily.

With Ede cocoa processing plant, Aregbesola had expanded assistance to cocoa farmers and numerous stakeholders regarding the development of cocoa in Nigeria. With over twenty million cocoa farmers in Nigeria, Osun-China’s cooperation over Ede cocoa processing plant has given lifeline to cocoa farmers who could not export their products before now. The partnership with one of China’s Most popular politicians and business leaders Qizan Zhao; Deputy Leader of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China and one of the leading businessmen in China is producing a N10bn investment in Osun and over 1000 jobs for local people in the next two years in the state especially youths.

“The total investment by Jiangsu Wuxi‎ Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited on the Industrial Park was $600m. The first phase of the project included six projects: Cocoa bean processing, chocolate and food processing, salt processing, cassava starch processing, gold mining and power plants. “The construction project of Jiangsu Wuxi Tiahu Industrial Park will strictly abide by the relevant laws and regulations of the State Government of Osun and Federal Republic of Nigeria. “The government will provide policy guidance for the construction of Jiangsu Taihu Wuxi Industrial Park and gave support of energy, infrastructure and other aspects. After the completion of the project, favourable tax terms will be given. “The state government was to set up a working group for the construction of Jiangsu Taihu Wuxi Industrial Park, which is responsible for the docking and service with China. The two sides agreed that the project would start in 2018.”

The General Manager of Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, Mr. Liu Jianhui,‎ commended the governor for exploring every opportunity to develop the state. He said the company decided to establish $600m worth projects in the state, having understudied the economic potentials of Osun to grow foreign investments.

One of the lessons was that Osun State had put a stop to billions of Naira that Nigerians are using to import chocolate and other cocoa products from EU countries. Osun Cocoa Processing Plant, Ede is now producing “Made in Nigeria” Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Cake, Cocoa Powder and Chocolates and set to flood world market with “Made in Nigeria” chocolates. Osun Cocoa plant, Ede is back after more than 30yrs of wobbling and fumbling. Despite living in one of the world’s biggest grower of cocoa beans, Nigerian residents have never quite embraced chocolate as part of the national diet. Aregbesola has provided lifeline for cocoa farmers in Nigeria Interestingly, Osun is a major producer of chocolate today and a major cocoa-producing state, and chocolate manufacturing center is in Ede. Osun State is the third largest cocoa producer in the South West after Ondo and Oyo states. The state largely draws its rising profile as a big role player and producer of the cash crop from Cocoa Farms.

Another lesson was that the arrival of a new chocolate factory in Osun State will also allow Nigerian planters to finally access the pleasure of chocolate.” Osun chocolate is targeting the local market, then progressively expand to the sub-region. The factory is initially producing cocoa powder and chocolate. Despite its Chinese ownership, the plant represents a victory in the continent’s battle to profit from its natural resources instead of exporting them to be processed elsewhere. The African country’s first major chocolate factory hopes to change all that.

Another lesson was that Smallholder cocoa farmers and other stakeholders were happy over the establishment of an elaborate cocoa processing plant that produce chocolate in Ede, Osun State, and the third largest cocoa producing state in the country. They are happy that the plant will be able to check the bleak future of the business which is presently facing stiff international competition as well as government overbearing influence, so the smallholder famers will stop to lament daily.

Another lesson was that with Ede cocoa processing plant, Governor Aregbesola had expanded assistance to cocoa farmers and numerous stakeholders within the cocoa value sequence regarding the development of cocoa in Nigeria. Governor Aregbesola has brought innovation and localized the processing of cocoa products in the 14 cocoa producing states in Nigeria. With over twenty million cocoa farmers in Nigeria, Osun-China’s cooperation over Ede cocoa processing plant has given lifeline to Nigerian cocoa farmers who could not export their products before now. The partnership with one of China’s Most popular politicians and business leaders Qizan Zhao; Deputy Leader of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China and one of the leading businessmen in China is producing a N10bn investment in Osun and over 1000 jobs for local people in the next two years in the state especially Youths and this will help to support the industrialization efforts of Governor Aregbesola
The moribund Cocoa Processing Company in Ede, Osun state, received a lifeline with the intervention of former Governor Aregbesola and two Chinese firms who have resuscitated the comatose industry. Governor Aregbesola is providing a lifeline for 14 cocoa producing states in the country through the cocoa processing plant which is the only plant that is functioning today in Nigeria. With this plant farmers can now distribute new high yield cocoa seedlings to cocoa farmers, and continues to allow the purchase of chemicals and inputs at 50% subsidy.

Inwalomhe Donald, writes from Osogbo, inwalomhe.donald@yahoo.com

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