The recent attention being given to cocoa production and its value-chains by the present administration in Ogun State is geared towards restoration of numerous economic advantages of the produce in the country.
Dr. Odedina enumerated some of the recent steps taken by the present administration to include, land evaluation analysis for cocoa development initiative, a joint stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the State Government, free distribution of over 50,000 cocoa seedlings to small holder farmers, support to Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) and Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), among others.
“It is the expectation of the present government that stakeholder’s engagement is regular and we will continue to improve our ranking as a Cocoa producing State, as part of our contribution in restoring Nigeria back to its position as a leading cocoa producing nation in the world”, he said.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina stated this in Abeokuta at the Pre-Season Meeting and Produce Stakeholders’ Workshop, assuring of prompt response to the needs of Produce Department in the Ministry, saddled with the responsibilities of coordinating activities of cocoa sub-sector for the benefits of cocoa value operators.
Speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke said, the present administration rates agriculture high because of its importance to the economy, aside job creation, charging officers in the department to be diligent in increasing the State’s revenue generation.
In her remark, representative of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mrs. Fransisca Odegba, described agriculture as the gold mine of Nigerian economy, encouraging people, including public servants to venture into it to feed themselves and earn more income.
She also encouraged cocoa value-chain actors to work in groups and turn cocoa produce to finished products before exporting it, saying “what Nigerians pay for imported cocoa finished goods, such as beverages or chocolates far outweighs the gains earned from exporting just the produce”.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of letters of commendation to 10 outstanding officers in the Department and presentation of awards to outstanding stakeholders in cocoa, cashew and palm-kernel.