Lagos, Jan. 12, 2024: The Nigerian Export-Import Bank has unveiled an online portal tagged ‘cocoaconnectafrica.com,’ to create market linkage among farmers, aggregators, and buyers in the cocoa value chain in Africa.
Mr Abubakar Bello, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NEXIM Bank, made this announcement on the sideline of one-day International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum 2024, on Thursday in Lagos.
Mrs Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, the Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperative, Trade and Investment, inaugurated the portal at the event.
The conference was organised by the International Cocoa Diplomacy in partnership with NEXIM Bank.
Bello said the portal would enable all stakeholders within the cocoa value chain to interact freely irrespective of the location, region or country, once registered on the portal.
He said the portal could be accessed on any device anywhere in the world.
Bello added that the portal would empower everybody in the value chain and get people closer to what they are looking for in cocoa ecosystem.
He said the portal would not only be beneficial in the main stream value chain.
He added that the portal would become available to all stakeholders immediately.
“Our plan is to double, triple, quadruple cocoa production in Nigeria. This will be the new thinking for us to get to that renewed hope.
“The whole essence of this portal is to bring market place as well as a resource centre in one place. We wanted to consolidate everything into one portal.
“When a buyer or a processor is looking for certain type of product, a certain variety of cocoa, from any part of the country or outside the country, the buyer know exactly where to go and how to reach that aggregator or farmer directly.
“It will also cut out middlemen since the main stakeholders are able to talk to each other directly on the same portal.
“Everybody involved in the cocoa sector can register and have a page on the portal to showcase their business and services.
“Buyers can reach out to farmers directly because their information will be displayed on it, also goggle map will identify the location of the farm foe traceability,” he said.
The portal has a market place where members can display their products and equipment.
Bello noted that portal would also serve a job creation platform that provides job opportunities for people seeking to be employed.
The portal will also serve at information disseminating platforms on the latest development, trends, and issues on the cocoa value chain weekly,” he said.
There is also a learning hub where videos will be uploaded on how to harvest your cocoa bean head and so on.
:We will be working with cocoa research institutions on documents and information that are of interest to farmers.
Speaking further, the NEXIM boss said that trade is all about knowing what is available and what is not.
He said that many Africans don’t even know what is available in the next country, thus creating a market gap.
“It is about somebody who has product meeting somebody who is interested in buy the product.It is about connection, it is about market information.
“In Europe, 65 per cent of their trade is done within EU, with neighbours. In Asia and Americas, it is about 45 per cent, while South America is about 40 per cent.
“In Africa, the statistics are not even stable, some will say 16 per cent, some will say less.
“When you remove Natural resources like oil and gold, it drops to about two per cent.
“Is it because the people in Benin Republic does not want to but from us or the people in Ivory Coast.
“The biggest problem that Africans have is market information. Africans don’t even know what is available in the next country.
“One of the things we want to do is to bring people on to the same platform. That was the whole thinking to now put all the stakeholders on one platform foe different commodities.
The one we inaugurated today is for cocoa, we are doing same for cashewand a few others. They will be inaugurated soon, “ he said.
Bello said that the idea was to have a chain of cluster. Today, everything is done digitally, so why should our trade still be lagging behind and we are still using email and other old avenue.
“What we are saying is that create a platform where everybody can log in and find what they want from your home, office, bedroom.
“It is not only to connect people, there is learning, research, product information and videos. All for learning.
“We are not doing it for profit we are doing it as one of our facilitation,” he added.
The commissioner congratulated the Co-Founder of the programme, Oba Dokun Thompson for bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss and find solutions to cocoa value chain.
She said that portal would be a transformation platform that transcends.
“I stand here today on behalf of Mr governor and am happy to launch the cocoaconnectafrica.com, a transformation platform that transcends and I am delighted to declare it open,” she said.