FILE PHOTO: Cocoa Farm

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recognized Ogun state as a focal state in its cocoa development initiative.

Ogun State’s recognition is coming as a result of the strides of the state at ensuring food sufficiency, industrialization and economic development through Agriculture.

Governor of the CBN, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Head, Financial Development, CBN, Abeokuta, Mrs. Yemisi Olukoya, disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting for the cocoa development initiative organised by the state government in partnership with the CBN at the OgunTech Hub, Itoki-elewe village.

Olukoya applauded the state government for the initiative in pushing for the inclusion of the state in the cocoa development program, being a focal commodity been funded by the CBN.

She said the government had satisfied the conditions land evaluation/testing, inter-cropping of plantain with cocoa, as well as, allocation of land to farmers, as indicated by the Bank.

Olukoya challenges government to take steps to make cocoa farming attractive so as to encourage youths to get involved in cocoa farming.

She added that private investors and partnerships should be linked to the program, as well as, providing alternative water resources to avoid loss of farm produce during drought season.

The commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, in his goodwill message, revealed that the government was aware of the huge contributions of cocoa to export and the economy of the country, as well as, the immense value-chain job opportunities and industrialization that are attached to this commodity, hence the government’s proactive approach to ensuring farmers benefit from the cocoa development program.

Odedina said the government tested lands and took steps to facilitate plantain co-cropping with cocoa at no cost to the farmers, and was ready to allocate lands to them for cultivation all in a bid to ensure jobs are created especially for youths and Industrializing the industry.

“With this initiative, the private sector will be linked to the CBN to enhance value addition, rejuvenation of old farms and establishment of new cocoa farms as well as land allocation to farmers” Odedina enthused.

Speaking in an interview, the chairman of the Cocoa Farmers Association (CAFAN), Apostle Solomon Taiwo Williams, appreciated the government for such a laudable initiative, maintaining that the long-term challenge of land allocation, would be met.