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Archive for September 8th, 2014

Nigeria nurtures its once-unloved cocoa industry as prices flourish

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 8, 2014

College graduate Omatayo Adeniyi stands in a humid tropical forest of southwest Nigeria and explains why he chose cocoa farming over a white collar job in the city.

“There is money in the ground. The future is bright. I hope to make one tonne of cocoa by next year,” he says from his farm in Ondo State.

Such optimism has for decades been rare among Nigeria’s cocoa farmers: Many abandoned their fields and moved to cities in search of alternative work after commodity prices collapsed in the mid-1980s and the country’s booming oil industry siphoned investment away from agriculture.

But years of focus on oil revenues has left Nigeria with a lack of industrial diversity and made it over-dependent on energy, which uses a lot of costly equipment but employs few people. So while the economy has been growing at an average of 7 percent for the past five years, it has failed to create jobs for many of Nigeria’s 170 million people.

High unemployment and poverty levels have prompted the government to look again at cocoa with the aim of getting more people to grow a product for which prices have been rising. Read the rest of this entry »

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