Cross River state govt earmarks 10,000 hactares for Cocoa cultivation

TO GO W/ AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY David YOUANT Workers cut cocoa in the southwestern Ivorian village of Godilehiri 01 November 2007 near Divo where cocoa and coffee plantation farmers are upset with suspected misappropriation of cocoa revenue or money laundering. Ivory Coast is the world's leading producer of cocoa, which along with coffee accounts for 40 percent of the country's exports and about 20 percent of gross domestic product. A June report by Global Witness charged that cocoa helped finance low-level armed conflict that has left Ivory Coast divided in two for five years between a government-held south and a rebel north since a foiled coup bid in 2002. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Cross River Government has acquired 10,000 hectares of land across the state for the cultivation of Cocoa in the 2020/2021 planting season.

Dr Oscar Ofuka, Special Adviser to the Governor on Cocoa Development and Control, disclosed this on Monday in an interview with journalists in Calabar.

Ofuka spoke in reaction to an award of honour given to him by the Shallom Ministry, Calabar, in recognition of his efforts at revamping the Cocoa industry in the state.

He said that Gov Ben Ayade was committed to revitalising the ailing Cocoa industry in the state with a view to making it an alternative source of revenue.

According to him, Cocoa is one of the cardinal points of the government’s Agriculture Revolution programme.

He commended the governor for foresight in making agriculture the mainstay of the state’s economy, saying that the sector had been neglected for long.

“Agriculture has been neglected for too long. It is time Nigerians return to agriculture.

“Our youths, irrespective of sex or place of origin should return to agriculture rather than parade the streets in search of white-collar jobs that rarely exist.

“Cocoa production is the new gold in Cross River, ” Ofuka said.

He thanked the ministry for the award, saying that he was dedicating it to the governor as a mark of appreciation for his passion for Cocoa production.

Ofuka urged residents of the state to support the state government by keying into Cocoa farming.

“Let us all work together so that we can take our pride of place as the highest Cocoa producing state in Nigeria,” he said.

Ofuka said that unless something would be done by the people of the state to boost cocoa production, the ultra-modern cocoa factory built by the present administration might be under utilised.

He called on farmers in the state to embrace the cultivation of an improved variety of cocoa crop with a gestation period of 18 months rather than rely on the old breed.

The special adviser said that all the Cross River Cocoa Estates which were in comatose had been revived particularly in Akim Osomba Community in Akamkpa Local Government Area where 3,800 hectares had been acquired by the government for cocoa cultivation. (NAN)

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