By Inwalomhe Donald
Ede cocoa plant now produces chocolate and cocoa drinks thereby creating numerous jobs in Osun State. The factory is now processing all Osun cocoa production estimated at over 70,000 tonnes. The Processing Plant has no debt burden and it is now producing Nigeria’s cocoa cake, powder, chocolate and butter. This makes it easy for Nigeria’s processed cocoa to compete favourably. The plant remains 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.
Osun State is putting a stop to billions of Naira that Nigerians are using to import chocolate and other cocoa products from EU countries, by producing “Made in Nigeria” Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Cake, Cocoa Powder and Chocolates and flood world market with “Made in Nigeria” chocolates. Osun Cocoa Processing Plant, Ede is investing heavily on research and development, and also empowering research institutes and technological institutions to build equipment for the industry rather than importing which is a good step. The Nigeria chocolate can thus be described as chocolate that is cheerfully made with love from single origin beans of high quality, rich in diverse fine flavours and can be found from the different cocoa-producing regions in the country infused with the Nigeria spirit of resilience, achievement and purpose with diversity in the art and culture with a beautiful blend of an array of spices that captures the very essence of our being.
This Osun Cocoa Processing Plant, Ede is not only strategic but historic. People around the world are familiar with Belgian, Swiss, Dutch or Modica chocolates even though these countries do not produce cocoa which is the main component of chocolate, unlike the confectionary people who are used to which has minimum cocoa quality with lots of unhealthy additives, chocolate compounds, animal fat, sugar and cocoa. Nigeria is the fourth largest global producer of cocoa, behind Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ecuador and it is one of the major cash crops grown in Nigeria but 85 per cent of it is exported and chocolates are imported in return, available statistics shows. It is on this basis that the Nigeria chocolate industry is striving to have its fair share in the ever-growing global chocolate market. Osun cocoa processing plant, Ede has created opportunities for chocolate makers, chocolatiers and chefs, as well as equipment and accessory manufacturers, restaurants, dessert and pastry chefs, ingredients suppliers, cosmetics experts and branding/packaging companies among others who use cocoa as the main ingredient of their products to showcase what they can do.
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.
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 was initially producing cocoa powder and chocolate. Despite its Chinese ownership, the plant represents a small 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.
The company can be used in so many ways; you can buy cocoa powder from a retail store and make a semi-sweet chocolate at home through some easy procedures. Remember, a semi-sweet or raw chocolate comes with little or no sugar and they contribute little calories to your daily diet. Cocoa powder itself is obtained from cocoa beans by first cleaning the beans and then partially drying them before roasting at high temperatures. Cocoa powder is obtained from the milling and separating cocoa butter from the liquid. Cocoa butter is used for making chocolate while the liquid is further processed to obtain other products including the powder.
Smallholder cocoa farmers and other stakeholders are 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.
With Ede cocoa processing plant, former Governor Aregbesola has 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.
Nigeria is one of the largest cocoa producing countries in the world. With 14 states producing and harvesting the crop Nigeria exports well over 242,000 tons of Cocoa. Governor Aregbesola has connected Nigerian cocoa farmers to the Ede cocoa processing plant and they can source cocoa easily here for Osun buyers.
Resuscitation of the company and the production of cocoa products is creating jobs and generating revenue for Osun state and Nigeria, which have been hit by severe budget crisis that has left government with revenue deficit. In Nigeria, We are not producing enough Cocoa and with Ede cocoa processing plant, there will be more participation in cocoa farming in Nigeria which will enhance proper management to get the best yield.
Cocoa Dealers or Cocoa Agents in Osun State today make money by buying the cocoa beans from the farmers in the 14 cocoa producing states in Nigeria and selling directly to the Ede cocoa processing company. The business is equally available for companies that want to go into cocoa marketing, distribution, and exportation.
The two China-based companies -Skyron Corporation and Golden Monkey Group of Company had promised the production of chocolate and others in Ede. Golden Monkey Corporation remains the number one producer of candies and chocolate in China, reviving the cocoa processing company in Ede has not been a problem.
Former Governor Rauf Aregbesola reminded me that if we don’t process cocoa but continue to export it raw to other countries, we would only have succeeded in handing over the processing of our own products to other countries; and they are going to be making more money than us. This invariably means that we are exporting jobs to other countries that will be employing their own people and making more money than us from the raw products we sold to them.
Donald wrote from Osogbo.