Cocoa contributes significantly to the economy of Nigeria and it is currently the largest non oil foreign exchange earner for the country and contributes substantially to the rural economy. In terms of employment, over five million people derive their income from cocoa as farmers, Licensed Buying Agents, Warehouse agents, processors and exporters. 95% of cocoa is grown in 21 out of the 36 States by small scale farmers working on farms of 1-3 hectares, providing low yields and facing high incidence of pests and diseases.
The authorities are concerned about the “irrational use of pesticides and its associated risks for the environmental and potential damage on the health of cocoa farmers, consumers of cocoa and its by-products and others along the supply chain. In addition, Nigeria has a specific concern related to the widespread use of copper sulphate, from various sources, for black pod control and the risk of heavy metals contaminating produce. In terms of SPS standards in general, Nigeria attaches great importance to pesticide residues and strongly supports the full implementation of the project.