The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched its $22 million, five-year, Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems (TRACE) Project with key stakeholders in Nigeria’s cocoa industry at the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria’s 2nd Annual Cocoa Festival in Abuja on October 19.
The TRACE project is part of USDA’s Food for Progress program, which assists developing countries improve agricultural productivity and expand agricultural trade. The TRACE Project is being implemented by Corus International’s Lutheran World Relief. The project promotes climate-smart agriculture practices to increase agricultural productivity in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain. By making it easier to document the origin, participants, and steps involved in making Nigeria’s cocoa, it will be more traceable and marketable. TRACE will be implemented across the cocoa-producing states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ekiti, Ondo, and Osun.
“We’re thrilled to see this new cocoa project get off the ground and benefit a critical part of Nigeria’s agricultural sector. I’m happy to say this project complements two existing initiatives in Nigeria on cashew production – one launched in 2019 that helps boost Nigerian cashew producers’ competitiveness, and the other, launched in 2020, that helps expand trade for Nigerian and other West African cashew processors through better access to finance.”
– Christopher Bielecki, Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Consulate Lagos
The project’s consortium of international and Nigerian partners includes federal and state governments of Nigeria, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ecometrica, and C-Lever.org, who will join Lutheran World Relief to provide technical expertise.
The launch in Abuja will also include an exhibition of cocoa products and connected stakeholders from government, research, and the agricultural sectors. Read more here.