Centre wants Nigeria/Ethiopia Bilateral Relationship Strengthened On Tea, Coffee Production

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The Centre for Coffee and Tea Initiative (CCTI) in Africa has called on Nigerian government to strengthen bilateral relationship with the Ethiopian government on tea and coffee production for additional foreign exchange.

The Founder of the centre, Mr. Innocent Mbonu was speaking at the International Coffee, Tea Day in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mbonu said that Nigeria produced tea and coffee and send to Cameroon which they claim ownership of.

“We have gone to the National Assembly with a bill and very soon we are going to have the National Coffee and Tea Council that will take care of activities pertaining to tea and coffee in Nigeria.

“About 23 states can produce coffee in Nigeria without stress, the highland tea, the lowland tea as well as coffee, so we want to see how we can sensitise all activities so that Nigeria will come back in producing coffee and tea in Nigeria.

“Tea and coffee is next to oil like Ethopia is using it as their foreign exchange earner. In Nigeria, we will know how to do things, so we’ll look at the activities of how we can do and get it done well.

“The land is there, they are fertile both in the north, south, east and west, everywhere is fertile for the growth of coffee and tea. So why don’t we do it by ourselves.

“Most of the coffee and tea produced in Mambila plateau in Taraba state is being sent to Cameroon and the Cameroonians are using the French people to produce it as made in French communities, so we can exploit the atmosphere and begin to get it right,” he said.

Also, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yonas Sanbe, said that both countries could leverage on their population to strengthen bilateral relationships for the production of tea and coffee.

Sanbe said that the economy of both countries was dominant with cultures particularly the coffee production, hence Nigeria must harness this area to generate additional money for its economy.

“I think Nigeria and Ethiopia also are founding members of Africa Union (AU), so our relations grow stronger particularly in multiple distribution in Nigeria.

“This connects Nigerians to the rest of world and the Africans. So we signed the agreement regarding the bilateral issues and business issues.

“So we are working to strengthen the center. In Ethiopia, about 50 per cent of the coffee produced in the country is consumed locally for its high market- domestic markets

“We are trying to diversify our economy from agriculture to promote the foreign direct exchange which Nigeria can also take a cue from,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Doko Ibrahim, said that the council’s efforts in raw materials utilisation had led to the popularization of various products.

Ibrahim said this led to the production of Moringa tea, medically proven to be essential for some classes of dietetic patients.

” Under the RMRDC boosting programme, the council has supplied tea seedlings to tea farmers in the Mambila plateau and further supported with tea processing equipment,” he said.

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