Central Bank Of Nigeria To Support Ogun State Cocoa Development
Nigeria’s Apex Bank has recognized Ogun state as one of its focal state in the cocoa development initiative.
This is based on the strides recorded by Ogun state at ensuring food sufficiency, industrialization and economic development through agriculture.
Governor of the Apex Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, represented by the Head, Financial Development, CBN, Abeokuta, Mrs. Yemisi Olukoya, said this in Abeokuta, the state capital at a stakeholders meeting for the cocoa development initiative organised by the state government in partnership with the Central bank.
Mrs olukoya applauded the Ogun state government for its initiative in pushing for the inclusion of cocoa development program, being a focal commodity funded by the Apex bank, adding that Ogun state government had satisfied the conditions which consisted of land evaluation and testing, inter-cropping of plantain with cocoa as well as allocation of lands to farmers, as indicated by the Bank.
Mrs Okukoya charged Ogun state government to take steps in making cocoa farming more attractive to encourage youths involvement in cocoa farming. She added that private investors and partnerships should be linked to the program, alongside providing alternative water resources to avoid loss of farm produce during drought season.
State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina said that government was aware of the enormous contributions of cocoa export to the Nigerian economy asides the immense value- chain, job opportunities and industrialization aattached to this commodity, hence government’s proactive approach to ensuring farmers benefit from the cocoa development program.
Odedina said Ogun state government had tested lands and took steps to facilitate plantain co-cropping with cocoa at no cost to the farmers, and was ready to allocate lands for cultivation all in a bid to ensure job creation especially for the youths and industrialising 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,” Dr Odedina said.
He affirmed that “CBN insisted that Ogun State must pass the three compulsory tests to be done before benefiting from this cocoa initiative. That Ogun must conduct evaluation of all its soil in the 20 local government areas as form of assistance to the cocoa farmers, and in a way reduce the rejection of applications from Ogun State.
“And the government approved Institute of Agricultural Research Training of Obafemi Awolowo University, in Ibadan to do soil evaluation for the state and they delivered and that is why we are here to share the information with stakeholders.
“The other one is that we should be ready to key into plantain production because it goes with cocoa maintenance and we have done that.
“The huge one is the value addition. we are in a state with the highest hub of industries including agro-processors and cocoa, these are potential ones. So all the cocoa processors are either in Ogun State or Lagos. So, if you produce your own cocoa here and its very near to where it can be processed while other states take their cocoa to Lagos. So we will be tapping into this opportunity, Dr. Adeola Odedina said’.
The chairman of the Cocoa Farmers Association, Solomon Williams, appreciated the government for such a laudable initiative, affirming that the long-term challenge of land allocation, would be met.