TRACE Project Launched At Abuja

TRACE Project Launched At Abuja

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems (TRACE) Project in Nigeria was officially launched during the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) 2nd Annual Cocoa Festival. The Cocoa Festival was held on the 18th October, 2023, while the TRACE project launching took place on Thursday October 19, 2023 both at Abuja Continental Hotel in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The program was attended by eminent dignitaries from the Federal and States Governments as well as from Nigeria cocoa industry. These include the Former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, Deputy Governor of Abia State, Engr. Ikechukwu Emetu, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) Executive Director, Michel Arrion, Executive Director, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Dr. Patrick Adebola, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Vice President, Paul Macek, Mr Nene Akwetey-Kodjoe, Chief of Party for TRACE, Dr Christopher Bielecki, Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, (USDA), Catharine Phirl (LWR), Mr Adeola Adegoke, CFAN President, Dr Richard Asare and Mr Koen Sneyers of to mention but few.

Various presentations were made by CRIN, IITA, USDA, ICCO, WCF, LWR, representative of the six cocoa producing States involved in the project. The theme of the cocoa festival was “Upscaling Nigeria Cocoa Sustainability Towards 2025”. The program concluded with an exhibition of cocoa products and offered the opportunity for attendees to network and spark the synergies and innovations that will ensure the growth of Nigeria’s cocoa industry.

The Food for Progress Program has two principal objectives which are to improve agricultural productivity and expand trade of agricultural products. The TRACE Project will run from 2022 – 2027 and will provide training on improved agricultural production techniques, develop business solutions to improve farmer access to goods and services, strengthen business development capacity, promotes climate-smart agriculture to increase agricultural productivity in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, improves the traceability of cocoa, advocate for improved policy and regulatory frameworks affecting sustainable cocoa development and disseminate better market information through a multi-channel communications campaign in Nigeria. It is expected that over 51,000 smallholder cocoa farmers will be trained on improved agricultural production techniques and business practices; 114 farmer organizations will increase their business performance, and more than 68,400 farmers will gain access to markets.

TRACE project consortium of partners include: the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ecometrica, and The project will be implemented in partnership with the Federal and State Governments of Nigeria in six of the cocoa producing states which include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun states. The official launching was performed by the representative of the Federal Minister of Agriculture with the breaking of cocoa pods using a club by all personalities at the programme.

The Executive Director (ED) of CRIN, Dr. Patrick Adebola led CRIN team to the occasion. The other team members were Drs Sunday Agbeniyi, Rasheed Adedeji, Moses Ogunlade, Anna Muyiwa, Festus Olasupo and Anthony Agbongiarhuoyi. CRIN presence was very much appreciated throughout the programme as an important partner. The ED, Dr Patrick Adebola, was one of the lead speakers during a panel session of the TRACE launch. He talked about the provision of planting materials, training and Government policy on the project especially on the area of regulation through a Cocoa Management Committee for Nigeria.

CRIN showcased her developed technologies at the event which include CRIN TC cocoa hybrid seedlings, wines, soap, cocoa butter cream, cocoa balm etc. Annual reports, Information booklet, Cocoa Flavour Laboratory flyers, CRIN technologies innovation booklet, current approved pesticides posters and other CRIN publications were fully on display. These were well commended by the guests.

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The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) was established in Ibadan, Oyo State on 1st December, 1964 as a successor autonomous rese arch organisation to the Nigerian Substation of the defunct West African Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI)

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