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Agriculture Minister presents tools to cocoa farmers in Ondo

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Agriculture Minister presents tools to cocoa farmers in Ondo

By Alaba-Olusola Oke

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Alhaji Muhammad Nanono presented tools to cocoa farmers in the state in Akure on Monday.

The tools include: 5,411 sachets of Ultimax Plus Fungicide, 500 liters of Avesthrin Insecticide and 100 backpack sprayers in support of cocoa farmers.

Nanono, who made the presentation at the official opening of the National Secretariat Complex of the Association of Cocoa Producers of Nigeria (CFAN), noted that the gesture was to encourage cocoa production.

He recalled that the ministry had inaugurated in 2020 the free distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers, including cocoa producers, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

“The ministry has so far distributed over 300,000 improved hybrid cocoa plants in the southwest, south-south, center-north and south-east of the country, and around 350 boxes of Ultimax-plus were distributed last year in the South-South and South-East Deployment.

“The grand finale was held in Abuja where 500 units of solo pumps were distributed to cocoa farmers with the aim of increasing cocoa production from the current 250,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes.

“The ministry has also recently purchased growth promoters, fungicides (Ultimax plus) and insecticides (Avesthrin) which are distributed to cocoa farmers at subsidized rates to improve production, alongside the support of Solar Cocoa folding dryers to associations. cocoa farmers, ”he said.

The minister added that in 2020, the ministry, in collaboration with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan proceeded to the acquisition of skills on the intensive management of nurseries of improved hybrid cocoa plants (CRIN TC1- 8).

According to him, the hybrid seedling had the capacity to fruit in 21/22 years against 5 to 7 years.

“The training included the farmers field school on integrated pest management (IPM) and capacity building on the use of folding cocoa dryers,” he said.

Nanono explained that there was an ongoing collaboration between the ministry and German International Cooperation (GIZ) on establishing a community cocoa seed and graft garden in the country.

He urged the association to contribute significantly to increasing productivity despite the daunting challenges of bringing cocoa production to a desirable level.

In his remarks, the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, noted that it is undeniable that cocoa can generate millions of jobs in the country.

Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, called on the federal government to provide special funds for cocoa development through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said that all hands should be on the desk to reorganize the cocoa for the economic benefits of the country.

According to him, chocolate should be integrated into the national diet program for its health benefits and to improve brain development in students.

The governor also advised the federal government to make cocoa cultivation attractive to young people by providing credit facilities, the Internet and infrastructure.

Appreciating the presence of the Minister, Mr. Adeola Adegoke, National President of CFAN, acknowledged that the association has benefited from the CBN Anchor Borrower program where it received more than 700 million naira in 2020.

Adegoke noted that the impacts of the funds could not be overstated, saying those who had benefited from them had started repaying.

He also commended the FG through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for its various programs in 10 cocoa producing states on the rehabilitation and regeneration of cocoa plantations.

He urged the government at all levels to show more support for cocoa in order to boost its productivity beyond the average of 250,000 metric tonnes, unlike Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire which produced one million respectively. metric tons and 2.5 million metric tons.

Adegoke said the CFAN House was built to further strengthen the administrative capacity of the association to better serve cocoa farmers. (NAA)

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