• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Osun to partner NEXIM on cocoa revolution initiative

Massive fire outbreaks add to woes of Nigeria cocoa farmers, output could fall could 4%

The Osun State Government has said it will partner with the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) as part of its plan to revolutionise agriculture, especially to boost the production of cocoa, in the state.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Bode Olaonipekun, said this to farmers in Osogbo at the presentation of research findings on cocoa commercialisation in Nigeria sponsored by a consortium, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa.

Olaonipekun, who said the government would partner with NEXIM to finance the project, called on the farmers to avail themselves of the opportunity and register for the initiative.

He said, “It is called agricultural product and produce revolution, and particularly cocoa. We are already in partnership with NEXIM. In our discussion, we agreed to bring seedlings to cocoa farmers and also do clearing for them.”

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Presenting research findings, the lead researcher, Dr Adeola Olajide, from The University of Ibadan, stressed the need for the development of the cocoa value chain.

She said, “We need policies that would support the involvement of the youth along the value chain beyond the production mode. We need to process and consume our cocoa. Once we start to do that, other markets would loosen up.

“Because once there are opportunities and there are good returns, the market will cause people to respond appropriately. It may take some time, but definitely, there will be increase in direct market access, processing zones that will support farmers processing beyond drying and bagging their beans will enhance commercialisation, income generation, food security, and create opportunities for other entrants.

“We also need orders that will ensure that the produce are up to standard. In Ogun State, we saw produce inspectors; but in Osun, we didn’t come across them.”