No fewer than 8,000 cocoa farmers in Ondo State have been trained by an agro-allied company, Olam Nigeria Limited.
The company said it had been contributing to the development of agriculture in the state and assisting the state during the current period of the deadly coronavirus disease.
The Branch Manager of the company, Mr Arun Kartchic, stated in an interview with our correspondent in Akure after the presentation of some items to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, as part of the company’s contribution to fight the spread of the deadly disease in the state.
The company presented a total of 1,000 sanitizers, 5,000 face masks and 3,200 cartons of noodles to the state government.
Kartchic said the company had been embarking on sensitisation programmes for the farmers on how to stay safe during the COVID- 19 period.
He said, “We are impacting their lives on a day-to-day basis. We are grooming about 8,000 cocoa farmers. We are helping them improve yields of the cocoa crops. With that they will get improved income.
“We are making videos to educate them on ways to avoid COVID-19. We do radio jingles and through the community representatives, we are reaching out to the farmers.”
“The COVID-19 is a global epidemic and causing a lot of havoc. It is time for companies to pick up their corporate social responsibility. We are giving back to the people where we have been working in the state for the past 25 years.”
The President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adeola Adegoke, expressed fears that the farmers might suffer undue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying there was a need for the governments in cocoa producing states to rise up and support its production.