Fourty thousand farmers get N1m cocoa seedlings from FG

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FEDERAL Government had released over 1 million cocoa seedlings to 400, 000 farmers of the cash crop across the cocoa geo-ecological zones in the country to boost the production and export of the commodity.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, represented by Director, Engineering and Mechanisation Department, Engr. Mudasiru Akeju, at high level cocoa stakeholders GES implementation meeting held recently at Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Odusote stated that the cocoa seedlings were disease-resistant, early maturing, high yielding pods and with poly-bags, including agro chemicals and cocoa processing equipment across the cocoa geo-ecological zones within the period under review.

Giving a detailed presentation of the appraisal done on the cocoa sub-sector, she said the Federal Government was satisfied with the statistical report released that indicated that the Produce Inspection Service for 2013 fiscal year had a significant increase in cocoa production from a prior 300,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes, which she said excluded a provisional 3.6 million hybrid cocoa pods meant for distribution to farmers within 2015 and 2016 cocoa producing years.
According to Odusote the focal objectives of the meeting was to appraise developments in the 2014 Cocoa GES roll-out, identify opportunities and challenges facing the cocoa economy and proffer solutions for the future, more especially, preparatory to the forthcoming 2015 cocoa year.

Earlier, the Team Leader Cocoa Value Chain, Dr. Peter Aikpokpodion, noted that cocoa produce from Nigeria was of high premium at the international market and has potential in complementing the nation’s engine of growth and building a virile economy.

Aikpokpodion also debunked some reports that cocoa farmers were yet to benefit from the GES on the cocoa value chain.
He said the government had done well by distributing cocoa farm inputs in large quantity with high quality.

Meanwhile, National Secretary, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, Mr. Adeola Adegoke, lauded Federal Government’s policy in Cocoa Transformation to ensure sustainable food security not only for Nigerians but for Africans and the world at large.



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