..charges Cocoa stakeholders to brace up
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has charged cocoa value-chain stakeholders in the state, to urgently strategise on means of increasing the state Cocoa annual output in order to consolidate the position of the Ondo state, as the number one Cocoa producing state in Nigeria.
This was contained in an address delivered by the Chairman Cocoa Revolution and Management Agency, Pastor Akin Olotu at the Maiden Cocoa Stakeholders Meeting, held in Akure,the state capital.
Pastor Akin Olotu, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, on Agric and AgricBusiness, noted with dismay, that despite the fact that Ondo state remained the number one Cocoa producing state in Nigeria, regretted that the annual cocoa production of Ondo state was an average of 80,000MT from over 153,000 hectares of cocoa farms, translating to about 500kg average yield per hectare. This he said was unacceptable.
Although, the total tonnage graded in the state in year 2020 is the highest in the last 15 years, there’s a need for increase.
According to him, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN,has done everything possible to produce and provide cocoa seedlings free of charge to farmers across the state to boost the production.
He reiterated that Governor Akeredolu administration has distributed 2,200.000 improved cocoa seedlings, hence its expectation is to witness higher output.
He told the stakeholders that the Governor has set a target of 150,000MT minimum within the next 4years.
Olotu noted that the meeting became necessary for stakeholders to have deliberations to fashion out appropriate strategies on the modalities that would be adopted to increase on their cocoa output production.
He used the medium to inform the farmers that for the first time in the history of Ondo state, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, has recently upgraded the Cocoa Revolution Project from functioning as a small committee to a full fledge Agency of Government, “Cocoa Revolution & Management Agency” COCOREV, to oversee the entire Cocoa Value Chain such as Production, Marketing, Value addition and Utilization.
The functions of the Agency, according to him, include Maintenance /Rehabilitation of Cocoa Seed Gardens for the production of Hybrid Cocoa Pods, Training of Farmers on research findings and modern techniques of cocoa production.
The state Cocoa stakeholders, identified strategies for both immediate and future impacts in the quest to meet the Governor’s 150,000 MT target.
They proffered far reaching solutions, and emphasised the need for adequate monitoring of the implementation to ensure sustainable cocoa production at all times.
Present at the meeting were representatives of different Cocoa farmers associations , like Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Cocoa Farmers Association of NIGERIA, Golden Cocoa farmers association NIGERIA, cocoa cooperatives union, Ile oluji, cocoa industry, Sunshine Chocolate factory, the state director of Produce, and staffers of the Cocoa Management Agency.
November 1- 6, 2021 has been set aside as Cocoa week, which will become an annual event.