The Special Adviser to Ogun State Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe, said the state has devise strategies towards improving quality of Cocoa produced in the state.
He challenged stakeholders in the cocoa industry to join hands with the government to increase productivity of existing plants and develop new plantations, saying government would seek tailored cocoa fertilizer blends to rapidly improve yields from 300kg per hectare (ha) to about 500kg per ha.
Oredipe, who said this while delivering his keynote address at the 2019 Annual Produce Stakeholders Workshop and Cocoa pre-season meeting, organised by the Produce Department, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, noted that the state will create enabling environment for Cocoa farmers.
“This workshop came at the right time as the state is preparing for the new cocoa season. The global market as we have known, is good for our cocoa, with the global demand of 3.7million metric ton, of which 65 per cent is used in making chocolate, 27 per cent for food additives and pharmaceutical industries and eight per cent used in beverage industry and despite this, cocoa farmers receive a very low share of final price of the end product,” Oredipe said.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye said the realisation of the meeting would enhance the quality and quantity of exportable agricultural produce for better results.
She also noted that government is looking into challenges and constraints that may arise in the department of produce, revealing that the ministry is hopeful the 2019 cocoa season will give a higher tonnage and enhance revenue for the state.
Director, Produce Services in the Ministry, Mr. Shamsideen Adenopo highlighted the need to sensitise the stakeholders as regards produce activities in order to sanitise the produce business, saying activities of some unscrupulous people have taken its toll on quality and marketing of produce and consequently affecting revenue to government coffers.
Mr. Sesan Sowunmi who spoke on behalf of other chairmen of crop produce farmers, appreciated the state government for its determination towards developing agriculture in the state. He appealed for provision of not only a cocoa estate, but also an enabling environment for cash crops to thrive.