The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Abubakar, has urged cocoa farmers to continue to improve on their productivity to enhance livelihood.
He also assured them of government’s continued support.
The minister said this in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the second Cocoa Farmers’ Day celebration, organised by the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN).
Abubakar, who was represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, a director of agriculture, noted that the ministry had carried out different intervention programmes for cocoa farmers, such as free distribution of improved cocoa seedlings, cocoa solar collapsible dryers, procurement of insecticides to farmers, collaboration with cocoa research institute to assist cocoa farmers, among others.
He noted that improved productive would in turn lead to improve livelihood of farmers and other actors in the cocoa value-chain.
“I urge you to continue to contribute meaningfully to increase cocoa production, move cocoa farming to an enviable level in order to improve livelihood of farmers and other actors in the cocoa value-chain.
We have taken note of your challenges, concerns and suggestions.
You can be rest assured that the ministry will continue to support you and your association,” he assured.
On his part, Governor DapoAbiodun said his administration had fulfilled all the listed pre-conditions necessary for a mega lift in the cocoa support initiatives for cocoa farmers and stakeholders.
He stated that part of the proactive steps taken were evaluation of all cocoa producing sites in the state, free distribution of over 100,000 improved cocoa seedlings to farmers and provision of land for prospective investors in primary production.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Dr Adeola Odedina, applauded the integrity and professionalism of the CFAN in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme
He said documentation of additional candidates, off-takers and processors had been submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable them access the needed assistance and intervention that would restore the lost glory in cocoa sector.
Earlier, the national president of the CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said the choice of Ogun State for the celebration was borne out of the friendly cocoa economy atmosphere created by Governor Abiodun, which he said had attracted investors to the state.
The paramount ruler of Egba land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, represented by Osi Egba, Chief Bode Mustapha, advised the farmers who had benefitted from soft loans through various government interventions to refund such as soon as they harvest their crops.
Minister Challenges Cocoa Farmers On Production