Nigeria has recorded zero per cent in coffee production for the first four months of 2015, even when its growers say the global demand for the nation’s coffee is high.
A report obtained on Friday from the United States Department of Agriculture, which contains details of coffee production in 84 countries, indicated that Nigeria produced 35,000 bags of coffee in 2014, representing an increase of 16.67 per cent over 30,000 bags recorded in 2013.
But the report stated that the nation had since the beginning of the year made no production.
Coffee production in Nigeria, which peaked at 95,000 bags in 1964, had been dropping steadily since 2000, remaining below 60,000 bags annually, it added.
In 2012, the nation’s output was put at 40,000 bags, a 33 per cent increase over the 2011 figure of 30,000 bags.
It also witnessed fluctuations in the late 1980s and early 90s, hovering between 80,000 and 90,000 bags.
Operators attributed the poor performance to apathy and continued neglect of the sector by the government.
In an interview with our correspondent, the President, Coffee and Tea Growers Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Sadiq, accused the Federal Government of abandoning the sector in the last 10 years, noting the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment treated it with nonchalant attitude.
Sadiq said the dormancy in the sector had cost Nigeria its membership position in the International Coffee Council.
He added that operators had made several appeals to the government to revive the sector but no meaningful response was received.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, said although not much had happened in the sector in the recent past, the sector had potential for export and that the NEPC was already taking steps to revive it with a view to making it viable for export.
He noted that as part of efforts to revive the sector, stakeholders had met to discuss the development of a national policy on tea.
He added that NEPC was also making plans to establish a common facility centre on coffee in Plateau State.
Source: The Punch