A first Made-in-Nigeria chocolate bars have gone out for sale in Maryland, USA for $16.50, that is about N7, 000 based on N415.65 at $1 exchange rate.
Nigeria exports over 80 per cent of the cocoa beans without value addition which puts the wealth of cocoa in the hands of European processors and the recent completed Sunshine factory in Ondo looks to change that.
The test, though many have frowned against it, is a test run on foreign acceptance.
In October, 2015, the Ondo State Government led by Olusegun Mimiko said on Friday that a modern chocolate factory to process premium quality cocoa beans produced in the state would begin production of chocolate bars by April 2016.
The then state’s Commissioner for Information, Hon Kayode Akinmade, disclosed the information at a news conference in Akure.
He said that the new factory will utilize the existing facility of the Cocoa Catalytic Factory in Idanre. He added that the factory would be operated by the state’s foreign technical partner, Spagnvola Chocolatier of Spain, and would have the capacity to produce enough for local consumption and export.
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Lending support to Hon. Akinmade’s statement, Dr. Jibayo Oyebade, the Chairman, Ondo Cocoa Revolution Project, said the State government had identified the Cocoa Catalytic factory at Idanre for the chocolate factory.
He said “our technical partner is an internationally recognised chocolate producer which is an expert in the field.
“We intend to invite officials of the Ministry of Commerce to take inventory of the machines at the catalytic factory in Idanre.
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“Already, there is a cocoa factory in Idanre that we can put in proper shape this year.” Oyebade said that chocolates made from cocoa beans had been declared one of the best in the world after testing at Switzerland, and was of immense health value for both the young and old.
“Having gone through the ailments chocolate can cure or ameliorate, I have personally identified more than 51 ailments peculiar or common to Africa and Africans.
“And since our partner uses natural sugar sourced from fruits and sugarcane, not synthetic sugar, you don’t have to worry about ailments from sugar.”
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He explained that Gov. Olusegun Mimiko planned to ensure that school children in the state start taking one bar of chocolate per week before leaving office.
In December, 2021, an indigenous-owned agribusiness and subsidiary of Capitalsage, Johnvents Industries Limited, commissioned its upgraded N15 billion cocoa processing plant in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The Factory which was commissioned by the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu will create 300 direct jobs and over 17,000 indirect jobs and thereby becoming an economic powerhouse for the State and Nigeria as a whole.
Commissioning the factory, governor Akeredolu, commended the company for choosing Ondo state as the investment destination for such a magnificent agribusiness project.
Akeredolu said that “Today’s commission of this incredible project is an important milestone in the cocoa agribusiness, not only to Ondo state but to Nigeria as a whole.
” I commend and congratulate you for coming to Ondo state, and I assure you that we will continue to provide an enabling environment for you to thrive.”
“Nigeria is not taking advantage of the cocoa value chain as only about 10 per cent of Nigeria cocoa beans is processed into cocoa butter and powder, while the rest is exported.
” What this means is that we are losing about 90 per cent of our probable revenue from cocoa.
“I believe that the addition of Johnvents Cocoa will increase the percentage of cocoa beans processed in Nigeria.”
The launch of Johnvents Cocoa Processing Factory is an exciting indicator of the company’s dominance as one of Nigeria’s leading companies in the process of making cocoa production and the rest of agribusiness a profitable sector that significantly contributes to Nigeria’s economic growth and foreign exchange earnings.
That year the Group Managing Director of CapitalSage, the holding company of Johnvents Industries Limited, John Alamu said: “Our vision is to continuously drive sustainable growth across the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria.
“With the abundant cocoa production in the country, our value should far exceed what it currently is.
“Johnvents Cocoa Processing Factory will crush these cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, butter, cake, and powder, for internal consumption and export into other markets across Europe, Asia and America, thereby increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“Interestingly, the economic benefits of this factory go beyond its contributions to foreign exchange earnings.
“It will also be a big player in job creation through 300 direct jobs and over 17,000 indirect jobs for Ondo State indigenes and Nigerians across the country.
Alamu said that the company ” promises to be a connecting bridge between cocoa farmers and the global cocoa market, thereby contributing meaningfully to Nigeria’s exports.
When GBETU contacted Comrade Adegoriola Steve, President of Stevocracy Advocates for Good Governance (SAGG), about the sales of Ondo Chocolate Bars in Maryland, USA, he said;
”Are you sure about this? … I will confirm this because Ondo State is being ruled by a set of fraudsters at the moment , nothing Musa no go see or hear from their fraudulent activities.
”When the governor, his wife and son have displayed their fraudulent prowess across the state, it is a Pity that most of the certificates flying around the states from the first degrees to the professorships are fake, it simply means a large number of 80 percent of the certificate holders in the state were cheating during the exams to acquire those certificates with the results of election generated over the last six years within Ondo State.
”The chocolate 🍫 that cannot be eaten within Ondo State is now sold in America, where are your brains? You think we people outside the country are daft like you people and your white beard Governor whose aim is to steal and destroy.
”Shame on you useless leaders across Ondo State in the present days !!!!
Meanwhile another factory has opened up in Ondo to process 15,000 tons of cocoa annually and increase value addition before sales.
Nigeria can make as much as $1bn from cocoa products if the industry is approached with investment and seriousness it deserves.