Ondo to establish largest Cocoa Estate in Africa
The Ondo State Government has said it has concluded arrangements to establish the single largest cocoa estate in Africa on 2,000 hectares of cocoa plantation at Ijugbere, in Owo Local Government Area.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Otunba Adegboyega Adefarati, who disclosed this during the weekend in Akure at a media briefing, said that it was a deliberate plan to further grow the cocoa industry in the state.
He said that government had embarked on giving free cocoa seedlings to farmers so that the state could regain its lost glory in cocoa production and for the farmers to understand the premium it placed on agriculture.
Adefarati said that this had led to the expansion of farm settlements, improvement in farmers’ yields and repositioning of Ondo as the Number One cocoa producing state in Nigeria.
The Commissioner expressed the state government’s commitment to boosting agricultural activities and encouraging youths to embrace agriculture.
Consequently, he said that government had concluded plans to commence the production of over 500,000 improved cocoa seedlings, 50,0000 cashew seedlings, 40,0000 oil palm seedlings, 10,0000 coconut seedlings and 5,000 kolanut seedlings.
Adefarati further disclosed that government had also commenced replacement old cocoa trees, with long gestation period, with improved seedlings.
The Commissioner commended the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration for giving the moribund agricultural sector in the state a facelift.
According to him, rehabilitation is already ongoing at the Sunshine Fisheries Farm, with an annual production capacity of five million juveniles, which had been abandoned for more than 11 years.
Adefarati also said that the hitherto moribund Akure semi-automated abattoir had been resuscitated and is now operational with full workforce.
According to him, statistics shows that not less than 70 cows are being slaughtered daily at the abattoir, aside other related auxiliary profit-oriented services which the facility is rendering to meat consumers.