BY OLORUNFEMI ODOFIN
Cocoa production in Nigeria will move from three hundred and forty thousand to five hundred thousand metric tonnes by 2024
The president, national cocoa farmers association of Nigeria, CFAN, comrade Adeola Adegoke disclosed this at the free distribution of the cocoa GAP handbook to cocoa farmers in Akure, Ondo state capital
Comrade Adegoke decried annual decrease in quantity of cocoa production against past records of the country as the best cocoa producing country.
Comrade Adegoke also faulted continued deterioration of cocoa beans among other unwholesome practices which now devalue the once preferred Nigerian cocoa beans at international markets
He said the handbook was therefore introduced to guide the farmers on acceptable national and international standard for cocoa planting and processing following the threat by European union to ban all cocoa beans that were below standard.
The CFAN President who explained that the step was to make Nigeria the highest Cocoa producer by 2027 added that a national taskforce among other partners had been put in place to control and apprehend those involving in sharp practices
Presenting the cocoa GAP handbook, the director of tree crops, ogun state, Mr James Oyesola expressed optimism that the move would revive Cocoa production in the country
On government efforts at reviving dwindling cocoa production, the special adviser on Agriculture and Agric business in Ondo state, Pastor Akin olotu revealed that hectares of lands had been cleared with annual planting of new cocoa seedlings by the State government
The trade promotion advisor, nigerian exports promotion council, MacPherson Fred-Ileogben pledged that the nation would continue to promote its products for economic stability
Some participants across the country Mr Abdrasheed Usamat, Mrs Ayemosan Veronica, Chief Adeyemi Sunday from Ekiti and Kareem Muritala from Okada, Edo State commended CFAN for the handbooks and urged government to support them with inputs at subsidized rates.