By Francis Akinnodi
The Ondo State government said it is working to revive the chocolate factory in Alade-Idanre with other innovations ongoing in order to provide more jobs for the citizens.
Senior Special Assistant to the governor on agric and agribusiness, Akin Olotu who disclosed this while speaking with journalists, said the chocolate company is going to be a plus to the Ondo as a cocoa-producing state after the completion of the project.
Olotu said the immediate past administration, under the leadership of Olusegun Mimiko, who kick-started the project did well but could not complete it while the current administration has continued the good initiative.
He said; “We are here today to see one of the achievements of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration. The chocolate factory started as a cocoa project several years ago under some administrations. The hallmark and philosophy of the current government is that you do not abandon whatever is good.
“Mr. Governor said we have to bring this project back to life after we went back to a United States-based consultant. Because we had no structure or organisation to roll out chocolate from this place. Nine organisations came together to evaluate what we have and we got Johnvents as the most suitable.
“Before, all we had here was just this factory building; other structures were in terrible form, but today, Chocolate production commences again as the factory receives new structures. We are producing locally using the indigenous people and in return adding value. We believe that the value chain of cocoa is superior to petroleum.
“Apart from cocoa, cashews will also receive top most attention starting from October this year. In Ondo State, by the special grace of God, we will have millions of seedlings in cashews that we will plant and produce in the state.
“So, we will continue to give adequate support to any community in the state where they can produce cocoa.”
Olotu, therefore, noted that after completing the innovation, employment will be opened to the citizens, and the importation of chocolate will reduce as cocoa processing will be massive in the state.
Meanwhile, a former acting secretary of Cocoa Revolution in Ondo State, Toba Adenowuro who was among the team that started the project, noted that drastic change has occurred compared to the previous situation.