Ekiti Boosts Cocoa Production, Distributes Agro Chemicals to Farmers
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
To boost cocoa production and increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Ekiti State Government has distributed agro chemical inputs to cocoa farmers in the state.
The bid, according to the state government, was to reposition the state as a leading cocoa-producing state in the country.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Prince Olabode Adetoyi, stated this in Ado Ekiti yesterday during the distribution of agro chemicals to cocoa farmers in the state.
Adetoyi explained that the gesture was to tackle and control pests and diseases capable of reducing the quality and quantity of cocoa produce in the state.
He added that the distribution of the agro chemical to cocoa farmers was to demonstrate how much importance the state government attached to cocoa production and food security in the state.
The commissioner explained that the state government was also passionate about strengthening its partnership with private investors in driving the production of coca in the state.
This, he said, informed the allocation of lands to three private investors for the cultivation of more than 10,000 hectares of cocoa in the state, adding that the private investors had also agreed to train local cocoa farmers in the state.
He commended the state Governor, Kayode Fayemi, for approving the replacement of aging cocoa trees, which resulted in the production of more than 200,000 seedlings of high improved varieties of cocoa, 55,000 of cashew seedling and 10,000 of oil palm to drop tree cropping in the state.
“All these seedlings, with the approval of the governor were to be distributed at no charge to all the farmers, and presently the ministry has subsidised new improved hybrid for cocoa which is why we have to make the farm input and agro chemical available so that the plantation can be maintained,” he stated.
He assured the farmers that state legislature would ensure the formulation of strict laws against bush burning which had had negative impact on cocoa plantation.
Also, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Odesanmi Oluwagbenga, explained that the agro chemicals being distributed were made up of 13,100 sachets of fungicides and 360 litres of insecticide as a pilot test to ascertain how they should be to put to use.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ekiti State chapter, Mr. Ademola Alagbada Adeniran, commended the state government for the support.
Adeniran added that it would go a long way to ameliorate the challenges of cocoa farmers in combating pest and cocoa related diseases.