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Optimise cocoa usage , Aribo tasks stakeholders

By Fatima Muraina


Ondo State Government has emphasized the need for stakeholders to tap into cocoa, a strategic crop which is leading in agricultural export in Nigeria  for maximum benefits.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Olayato Aribo reaffirmed this while playing host to members of the  State Cocoa Council in his office in Akure.

The Commissioner stressed that there is no alternative to the produce, as such, it remains one of the most lucrative businesses  globally.

He said the State still maintained the leading position in Nigeria as he assured that  Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa would leave no stone unturned to maintain the first position.

He assured on government’s commitment in ensuring that agricultural practices enjoy enabling environment that would make the venture more attractive to the people, especially the youth for job creation and opportunities.

The Commissioner said there are improved cocoa seedlings that require only 18 to 20 months to bring out seeds, noting that there is need to replace the old ones for better quality and improved production.

He emphasized the use of technology in land preparation, planting and harvesting, for better yields and making the work attractive to younger people in order to go into cocoa farming.

He, therefore, charged members of the Council to look into the use of technology in cocoa business, adding that foreign investors are coming to Nigeria to invest in cocoa production.

Earlier, in his address, the Chairman of Ondo State Cocoa Council, Dr Olusegun Awolumate, said they visited the Commissioner to felicitate with him on his reappointment to the Ministry; and to inform him about the activities of the Council.

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The Chairman said cocoa in Nigeria generated a total sum of N107.59 billion in the first quarter of 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), adding that the commodity is fast-changing supply chain for the international cocoa market and forex inflows are very complex.

He noted that cocoa sub-sector is an area the State has comparative advantage and has consistently served as a major revenue driver, just like it did in the sixties during the defunct Western Region of Nigeria.

Dr Awolumate informed the Ministry that States like Cross River, Ogun, Osun and Edo are working frantically to take over the leadership position from Ondo State.

He noted that Cocoa is a major player in terms of employment and poverty alleviation, considering the huge population of cocoa farmers, cooperatives, traders, exporters, local processing factories, beverage and chocolate manufacturers, collateral managers, transporters, input suppliers and allied service providers.

He, however, said it has remained without a formidable front to ensure adequate and functional coordination since 1986 when the Commodity Boards were scrapped.

He, therefore promised to cooperate with the government at all times to make sure the State benefits from the second phase of the Special Agro Industrial Processing Zone Programme (SAPA), co-sponsored by FGN and African Development Bank with other partners to ensure commercial agriculture, up-scaling of value addition, international competitiveness, and reliable off-takers for Ondo State Cocoa.

Optimise cocoa usage , Aribo tasks stakeholders

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