Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Kwara State Governor has disclosed that his administration has raised about 50,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings, which will be distributed to farmers at affordable prices once they mature in 18 months.
Yusuf Ganiyu Adebisi, press secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Agric,in a statement said the governor had disclosed that the distribution of cocoa seedling in the state is to boost farmers’ productivity of the crop.
“This is being done with a view to ensuring the prompt and effective rehabilitation and regeneration of the aged Cocoa plantations or farms existing in the state,” he said.
Represented by Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin, Commissioner for Agricultural, Abdulrazaq revealed that the government would establish a cocoa nursery in the state to serve as the genuine source of planting materials for the farmers.
“In this fiscal year, we plan to resuscitate the training and retraining of cocoa farmers on good agricultural practices through the Farmers Field School (FFS) and Farmers Business School (FBS) respectively,” he said.
“This is being done with a view to enhancing the quality of the cocoa beans being produced in the State. In addition, we also intend to look into prospects of being able to possibly address extant challenges associated with some of the critical input requirements of cocoa farmers in the state,” he added.
The governor further explained that the present administration understands that lack of basic social amenities and infrastructure among others could constitute disincentives for farming in agrarian communities in the state.
“It is for this reason and more that we are committing significant resources to road construction, healthcare, water and basic education in the 2020 budget, which has just been passed and assented to,” he said.
“Agriculture occupies a vantage position under this administration. We have invested a lot of money to reposition the sector, beginning with the N200million counterpart fund for RAAMP III and another N49.78million FADAMA counterpart fund, among others.
“We have also made appreciable budgetary provisions for agriculture this year, while also engaging the Federal Government and private investors on how to grow the sector in the State,” he added.
Abdulrazaq assured the farmers that his administration remains firmly committed to rebuilding and reconstructing the state for the good of all and for the benefit of children yet unborn, promising the farmers that his administration would work with them to develop the cocoa subsector in the state.
“Since we came on board, our administration has given so much attention to Cocoa because of its extensive value chain — just as we are doing with sugarcane and other essential crops and agricultural produce that can be successfully cultivated in the state.
“Kwara is currently grouped as a minor Cocoa state in Nigeria, owing in part to the perennial migration of cocoa farmers to other states and the seemingly unabated trend of rural-urban migration. This is a narrative that we want to change and as soon as possible.”
Abdulrazaq, however, congratulated the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) for the event which he says was designed to discuss the way to reposition the subsector in Kwara State and other parts of Nigeria, where the crop could be grown successfully.