• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Ondo, Ogun allocate land, distribute seedlings to renew cocoa economy in Southwest

Ondo, Ogun allocate land, distribute seedlings to renew cocoa economy in Southwest

As part of effort to wean Nigerian economy from crude-oil dependence which accounts for the economic volatility and dwindling revenue to the country, especially to the federating units, two old Southwest states – Ondo and Ogun states have returned to farming, embracing cocoa economy with a fresh investment in cocoa plantation, production and processing.

The two states which were an integral part of old Western Nigeria known in the 50s and 60s for Cocoa Production and Pyramids have intensified efforts towards ensuring that the states do not only engage in massive production of cocoa beans but also invest massively in cocoa processing and development of its entire value chain.

Recall that the two states, as well as Oyo state, were part and parcel of old Western Region which was premiered by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, who deployed cocoa proceeds to develop and build landmark public utilities in the Western Nigerian, which included the first Television Station in Ibadan – WNBS/WNBC; University of Ile-Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University; first tallest building in the country, Cocoa House; Liberty Stadium, among others.

Speaking in Akure at the inauguration of 15,000-metric tons capacity Johnvents Cocoa Processing Limited, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state noted that administration would continue to intensify efforts towards massive production and processing of cocoa as well as encouraging local consumption of chocolate by including it in the school feeding programme in the state.

Governor Akeredolu, who decried massive loss of jobs and wealth to the foreign countries since only 10% of cocoa beans is being processed and 90% being exported, said that dedicated programme is ongoing in the state to ensure that high-yielding cocoa seedlings are distributed to farmers and thousands of hectares of lands allocated to cocoa farmers to promote massive plantation,.processing and value chain development.

He said, “Ondo will leave no stone unturned to retain leadership position in cocoa production. We have given farmers two million improved cocoa seedlings. Some youths in the state have been given four hectares each at the 2,000 hectares model cocoa farm as part of effort to encourage youths to farming. We are not taking advantage of the value chain of cocoa. It is better to process cocoa here than export the cocoa beans.

Read also: Recent rainfall to boost Nigeria’s cocoa harvest

In Ogun state, Governor Dapo Abiodun declared that lots of interventions had been done to draw attention to cocoa beans production, processing and value chain development in the state take the lead in restoring back the lost National glory of cocoa and its advantages to the economy as Ogun state focal state in the Central Bank of Nigeria cocoa development programme.

Speaking through Adeola Odedina, Ogun Commissioner for Agriculture, Governor Abiodun said that 10 locations had been earmarked for prospective farmers and investors in primary cocoa production as 100,000 improved seedlings were already given to cocoa farmers under 2020 – 2021 Planting Materials Palliative Project of the state in addition to credit linkage drawn from the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme.

Consequently, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state won Award of Excellence in November at the Nigeria Cocoa Summit and Awards jointly organized by Nigeria Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in recognition of his sterling contributions to Cocoa Economy and recent Interventions to Cocoa value chain development.

He said that Tulip Cocoa Processing Limited, which converts cocoa beans to chocolate, liquor, butter, cake, among others, located in Ijebu axis of the state was saddled with the responsibility of distributing cocoa seedlings to farmers in addition to the primary function of cocoa beans processing and value chain development, saying that cocoa processing is the way to go to generate more employment opportunities and develop its value chain.

Also, John Alamu, group managing director of Johnvents, said it was regrettable that Nigeria, ‘is still playing small in the global cocoa business space given its immense potential.’

Alamu stated that it was the desire to improve the country’s export capabilities in the non-oil sector that birthed the firm with the aim of driving sustainable growth across the entire agricultural value chain.

“We have built into this factory a solid-fired boiler that generates steam and 33KVA electricity supply to reduce overhead costs by over 40 percent, while also upgrading the factory from fourteen pots to sixteen pots to improve the efficiency of fat extraction and better processing yield.

“This factory is focused on making 80percent daily output of processed cocoa products such as butter, cake, powder, and liquor, available for export into the global market, thereby becoming a foreign exchange earner for the country,” he said.