The Nigeria Coconut Traders are accusing their Ghanaian counterparts of preventing them from fully accessing the Ghanaian coconut industry.
According to them, some Ghanaian coconut exporters together with a few Nigerians have formed a cartel to prevent new investors from contacting coconut producers and marketers in Ghana.
Currently, Ghana produces about 60 percent of the coconut consumed in Nigeria.
Secretary of the Lagos State Coconut Traders Association of Nigeria Hupatin Akpetunde who disclosed this in an interview with Citi Business News says the cartels use security forces and associations to prevent others from entering the market.
“The cartel is an issue. We realised that some segments of people are now trying to thwart our efforts of investing in the coconut market. The cartel is operated in such a manner that very few people want to control the market without allowing others. They do this through the use of security forces and associations.”
He believes with the high demand of coconut in Nigeria which has a population of about 200 million, Ghanaians can export more to that country if the market is made more accessible.
“Presently we have an Agricultural and Industrial revolution in Nigeria, and that has created a vacuum whereby we don’t have enough coconut to satisfy our market, hence we look at the neighboring West African countries and having tested Ghanaian coconut we have seen it as very rich. The quality of the food is satisfactory and the size is also acceptable in the Nigerian market.”
He says the situation is rather worrying and hinders trade within the region.
“The African economy will grow if we all invest and integrate ourselves into it.”
The traders who visited Ghana for the International Coconut Festival have therefore been meeting with their Ghanaian counterparts to discuss the issue.
This development comes at a time when Ghanaian traders are also complaining about the closure of Nigeria borders which has left millions of Ghanaian goods stuck in Benin.
The total annual production of coconut currently stands at approximately 229 million pieces of coconuts, equivalent to between 350,000 to 400,000 metric tonnes; majority of which is consumed domestically.
The Ghana Exports Promotion Authority has therefore announced plans to promote and expand the acreages for coconut cultivation to take advantage of the increasing demand on the international markets.