#Agriculture

EU to ban cocoa produced in forest reserves

By Roseline Okakah

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Farmers have been advised to take advantage of the programmes  put in place by the government in addressing the directive  of the European Union to ban cocoa seeds produced at the forest reserve areas by 2025.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo Governor on Agric and Agric Business, Pastor Akin Olotu gave the advice in an interview with The Hope in Akure.

He said the state can only put in place mitigation strategies to minimize the impact of the ban because there is nothing to be done with existing law.

Explaining , he noted that cocoa produced in the forest reserves could be identified through the use of technology like the global satellite facility and the monitoring  team on what is produced and at which location.

“Technology has made everything so easy. It’s just like you are staying here now, somebody is working in your farm and you are 100 kilometers away or you are even outside the country, you will easily monitor what is going on in your farm. It is as simple as that,” he explained.

According to him, the European law stated that the size of the forested land in Africa for the past 10-20 years is more than the size of European nations as a whole which they see as a big trouble that is looming, contributing  attributed to the clamour for climate change.

Speaking on the oil palm plantation at the forest reserve, Olotu said it is different from cocoa because the oil is consumed by us while cocoa is consumed mostly by the European Union who control the price it should be sold.

“In the process of photosynthesis when plants manufacture food, they need sunlight energy and carbondioxide, that is what they put together to manufacture food and when they do that, in the course of their own respiration, they send out precipitate thereby purifying the environment.

“What this implies is that the more the number of trees you cut down, the lesser the number of store that you have for carbon dioxide because trees take away carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in return they give back oxygen and to that’s why felling of trees is not supported” he said.

Explaining the reasons for the projected ban, the state Chairman of Agricultural Commodities  Association, Mr Gbenga  Obaweya said it was in line with the global agreement as pertain to protection of forests to reverse the negative trends of climate change occasioned by deforestation.

 ” Cocoa and other cash crops will from the deadline date require traceability component as not being produced in areas where forests were destroyed to produce them” Obaweya further explained.

In a related development, the President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria CFAN, Adeola Adegoke urged  the Nigeria government to take advantage of Global Environment Fund (GEF) to reposition the cocoa industry.

” If the product is banned, it poses a threat to foreign exchange, and investments in the cocoa industry could be lost.

 Adegoke however, charged stakeholders to see it as a serious business; which should not be business as usual, calling on the people to ensure the successful implementation of the Global Environment Fund (GEF).

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