By Priscilla Osaje
Abuja, – The Centre for Coffee and Tea Initiative (CCTI) in Africa, has called for the establishment of the National Coffee and Tea Council to promote the production of tea and coffee in the country
The Founder of the centre, Mr Innocent Mbonu, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a programme to mark the International Coffee and Tea Day.
“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 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 every stakeholder so that Nigeria will produce coffee and tea.
“Tea and coffee is next to oil; Ethiopia is using it as their foreign exchange.
“In Nigeria the lands are there, they are fertile both in the north, south, east and west, everywhere is fertile for the growth, so why don’t we do it by ourselves,” Mbonu added.
According to him, most of the coffee and tea produced in the Mambila Plateau in Taraba ended up in the hands of the French through Cameroon.
“The French people produce it as made in France,” he claimed, adding that Nigeria should take measures to properly utilise the resources.
Mbano said Nigeria should strengthen its relations with Ethiopia to tap from its experience and expertise in tea and coffee production.
Also, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Yonas Sanbe, said that both countries could leverage on their population to strengthen bilateral relations in the area of tea and coffee production..
He said that Ethiopia consumed about 50 per cent of the coffee it produce while the rest was exported.
“We are trying to diversify our economy from agriculture to promote foreign exchange which Nigeria can also take a cue from,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Mr Doko Ibrahim, said that the council’s efforts had led to the popularization of various products.
Ibrahim said one of the products is the 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 them with tea processing equipment,” he said. (NAN)