A cocoa producing company, Barry Callebaut, Nigeria has organised a speech contest for five selected secondary schools in Ondo State as part of efforts to educate young people of challenges and gains of cocoa farming.
The speech competition with a topic “Seeds For Change” was held at Acquinas College Hall, Akure, Ondo State capital.
Our correspondent reports that the selected secondary schools are; St. Thomas’ Aquinas College, Akure; Fiwasaye Girls College, Akure; Imafon High School in Akure North; Ogbe High School, Oda Road and Akure Muslim College.
Declaring the contest open, the Sustainability manager for Barry Callebaut Nigeria, Mr Mujeeb Oniyide, said the essence of the speech contest was to enlighten the younger ones about some of the challenges faced by farmers so that they could start thinking of solutions to boost cocoa production.
He explained that some schools were chosen from the urban centers while some were picked from the cocoa producing rural areas where most of the farmers were based.
Mr Mujeed who pointed out that the competition also targeted increasing interest of young persons in cocoa farming, as many farmers were going aging, said Barry Callebaut, Nigeria, would continue to invest in cocoa sustainability in Ondo and other States.
“Some of them can become farmers, some of them can become lawyers that will formulate policies that will support the farmers in the future.
“Some of the issues we are addressing in cocoa sustainability is paramount that children are also one of the vulnerable people that we are also looking at. We have child labour cases in cocoa sector, by this, the children will also be aware of some of the challenges they are having and how they can face their education squarely and how they can proffer a solution for the coming generation.”
The Sustainability Manager said, “It is an innovative and encouraging way to drive learning and empowerment throughout the organization. With Seeds for Change, the organization has created a program that inspires globally and acts locally.
“For this reason we organize this speech contest for students -particularly starting from the highest cocoa producing state in Nigeria. It is with this hope that we carry the children along, so they can start planning and contributing to better tomorrow we all clamour for.
“This is the reason, 10 representatives – students – from 5 different schools will be discussing the two topics: The future of our cocoa & our planet and My part in shaping sustainable cocoa in Nigeria,” Mujeeb said
The overall winner of the speech contest, an SS2 student of Ogbe High school, Oda road, Akure , Miss Agnes Joseph said the speech contest was an educative one saying the students gained a lot on cocoa sustainability.
In the school category, Ogbe High School, Oda Road Akure emerged the winner, while Faith Ikotun from the same Ogbe high school, came second and Oluwaponmile Emmanuel from Aquinas college became the second runner up.
Trees will be planted in the victorious schools to fight climate change in the society.