The Federal Government, on Monday, disclosed moves to revive and boost the development of cocoa production in the country and take its rightful place in global cocoa production.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, who disclosed this in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during the inauguration of the National Secretariat of complex of Cocoa Farmers of Nigeria (CFAN)
Nanono who noted that cocoa is the bedrock of the country’s economy before the discovery of oil in the country said the present administration in the country is set to restore farmers’ productivity, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) and other stakeholders.
The minister said the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari is interested in reversing the downward trend in cocoa production in Nigeria despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the world economy.
Nanono said: “Great cocoa farmers, as you are all aware Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s was a major cocoa producer and supplied most of the world’s demand.
“Cocoa was a major revenue and foreign exchange earner for Nigeria and provided millions of jobs for the people, especially those in the southwest region.
“However, several years down the line, the once major cocoa producer now lags behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia in cocoa production.”
He attributed factors relegating Nigeria to the background in the comity of cocoa producers to bad weather, old trees that have not been rehabilitated, and lack of improved seedlings (planting materials) poor quality due to pest infestation and pesticide contamination leading to low-quality cocoa beans among others.
He, however, said the federal government is set to address these challenges to place the country in its rightful place among the cocoa-producing nation.
He said “It is worthy of note that the ministry in 2020 initiated flag-off/ roll-out of agricultural inputs free of charge to farmers including cocoa farmers to alleviate the impact of the global pandemic.
“The Ministry has so far distributed over 300,000 improved hybrid cocoa seedlings in the South-West, South-South North Central and South-East of the country, and about 350 cartons of Ultimax-plus were distributed last year in South-South and South-East roll-out.
“The grand finale was held in Abuja where 500units of Solo pumps was distributed to cocoa farmers aimed at increasing cocoa production from the present 250,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes.
“The FMARD also recently procured Growth Enhancers, Fungicides (Ultimax plus) and Insecticides (Avesthrin) which is being distributed to cocoa farmers at subsidized rates to enhance production alongside the support of solar cocoa collapsible driers to Cocoa Commodity Associations.
“In 2020 the Ministry in collaboration with Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) Ibadan carried out Skills acquisition on intensive nursery management of improved Hybrid cocoa seedlings (CRIN TC1-8) which has the capacity of fruiting in 21/2 years as against 5-7 years; farmer field school on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and capacity building on the use of cocoa collapsible driers.
“There is also an ongoing collaboration between FMARD and German International Cooperation (GIZ) on the establishment of cocoa community seed/budwood garden.
“I am using this opportunity to present 5,411 sachets of fungicide Ultimax plus, 500 litres of Insecticide Avesthrin and 100 knapsack sprayers as support to your Association so as to encourage your members in their cocoa production activities.”
The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, stated that his administration is committed to the development of cocoa in the state, disclosing that the state government has established about 2,000 hectares of modern cocoa plantation to boost cocoa production and revenue in the state.
Akeredolu who was represented by his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, disclosed that the government had nursed and distributed about 2.4m modern cocoa seedlings to farmers in the state for the plantation, which could be harvested just after three years.
The National President of CFAN, Mr Adeola Adegoke, said the structure was put in place “to strengthen and sharpen the administrative capacity in order to serve smallholder cocoa farmers better for an enhanced leadership performance and deliverables.”
Adegoke said the focus of the association is to encourage young cocoa farmers that will improve and boost the cocoa economy via robust incentiviable collaboration with goat all levels and carry aggressive regeneration and rehabilitation of cocoa plantations and the planting of new cocoa.
FG set to boost Cocoa production as CFAN inaugurates National Secretariat in Ondo
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