BY LEKE ADEGBITE
The Federal and State governments have been charged to come up with robust Strategies to ensure price control on cocoa putting into consideration the wellbeing of rural farmers.
Some cocoa experts gave the charge at Isarun in Ifedore local government area of Ondo state during the grand finale of the School Children Quiz Competition And Award Presentation to Cocoa farmers organised by SUCDEN-OLAKOKO Project.
Speaking at the event organised for some selected secondary schools from Osun, Edo, Ogun and Ondo states, a cocoa plant expert and Olakoko Project Manager, Mrs Mopelola Fabunmi explained that the event was part of efforts to motivate cocoa farmers with education support for their children.
Mrs Fabunmi who lamented negative impacts of last year’s COVID-19 lockdown on cocoa production in Nigeria advised all levels of governments to regulate the price of the cash crops in the interest of farmers and investors.
“The Olakoko Project ensures focus on these pillars not downgrading on any. We work relentlessly to ensure that the farmers are thoroughly trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and that the necessary information are taken and well documented.
“We also train and encourage our farmers to diversify so as to have something to lean on during the cocoa offseason. Our training pack for the farmers also include nutrition and health benefit of food which will avail our farmers to know the type of food to eat at a particular period and type of food necessary for a certain age group.
“Olakoko Project is not only all about increasing cocoa productivity but is also interested in the total wellbeing of our farmers and families as well as being committed to assist the farmers to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the issue of child labour in our great country, Nigeria.
Also speaking, a cocoa farmer and Procurement Manager of Olakoko project, Mr Bankole Ojo expressed concern over high cost of labour , deplorable condition of farms roads and enjoined government to invest massively on rural roads to boost production of cocoa and ensure food security.
While commending the efforts of Olakoko project for organizing the Quiz competition and other motivational packages for cocoa farmers, Mr Ojo also urged government to subsidize farm inputs in view of the current economic challenges
In an interview, one of the students who part in the Quiz competition, Opeyemi said the Sucden-Olokoko Quiz competition would go along way in motivating farmers to invest in their children’s education.