FG distributes 0.3million hybrid Cocoa Seedlings, as Akeredolu, Nanono unveil CFAN National Secretariat

The Federal Government on Monday said it has so far distributed over 300,000 improved hybrid cocoa seedlings to farmers across the federation.

The Minister Of Agriculture And Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono disclosed this in Akure, the Ondo state capital while Unveiling Cocoa Farmers Association Of Nigeria (Cfan) National Secretariat Complex.

According to the Minister,  all the states in the South-West, South-South North Central and South-East of the Country benefited from the improved cocoa seedlings.

Alhaji Nanono who commended CFAN for increasing cocoa production, noted that 500units of Solo pumps had also been distributed to Cocoa Farmers aimed at increasing cocoa production from the present 250,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes annually.

Nanono said “This ceremony of today is aimed at celebrating our cocoa farmers and as the saying goes “No farmer, No Nation”, cocoa farmers are gathered here for an event that holds a milestone in the growth of CFAN and the need to commend them for the initiative of establishment of a national office complex aimed at smooth running of the day-to-day activity of this noble Commodity Association and its membership.

“Great cocoa farmers, as you are all aware Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s was a major cocoa producer and supplied most of the world’s demand. Cocoa was a major revenue and foreign exchange earner for Nigeria and provided millions of jobs for the people, especially those in the southwest region.

“However, several years down the line, the once major cocoa producer now lags behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia in cocoa production.

“The reasons for this are not far-fetched, Stakeholders’ finger bad weather, old trees that have not been rehabilitated, and lack of improved seedlings (planting materials) poor quality due to pest infestation and pesticide contamination leading to low quality Cocoa beans among others as major reasons for Nigeria’s loss of ‘Cocoa Power’ in the global market.

“It is worthy of note that the Ministry in 2020 initiated flag-off/ roll-out of agricultural inputs free of charge to farmers including cocoa farmers to alleviate the impact of the global pandemic.

“The Ministry has so far distributed over 300,000 improved hybrid cocoa seedlings in the South-West, South-South North Central and South-East of the Country, and about 350 cartons of Ultimax-plus were distributed last year in South-South and South-East roll-out.

“The grand finale was held in Abuja where 500units of Solo pumps was distributed to Cocoa Farmers aimed at increasing cocoa production from the present 250,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes.

The Minister also said “I am using this opportunity to present 5,411 sachets of fungicide Ultimax plus, 500 litres of Insecticide Avesthrin and 100 knapsack sprayers as support to your Association so as to encourage your members in their cocoa production activities.”

“My good cocoa farmers, I therefore urge this great Association to continue to contribute meaningfully to increase production/productivity despite daunting challenges so as to move cocoa production to a desirable level in order to improve the livelihood of our cocoa farmers and other actors along the value chain.  

“I congratulate you all for this great edifice. I pray that it will be put to maximum use for effective running of the activities of your great Association,” the Minister concluded.

In a remark, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu represented by his Deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa said as part of the efforts to improve cocoa production in Ondo state, the cocoa revolution committee had been upgraded to an agency.

Akeredolu expressed delight that with the CFAN leadership under Adeola Adegoke for the foresight to locate such a gigantic National Secretariat in Akure, promising that the state government would continue to support cocoa farmers to achieve set targets.

The governor said his administration had started taking steps to replace ageing cocoa farmers and farms in the state.

Also speaking, a former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko stressed the need for Nigeria to redirect her energy towards mass production and exportation of chocolate to boost cocoa farmers’ output and incomes.

Mimiko described the CFAN President, Adeola Adegoke as a goalgetter, commending the innovative idea of coming up with the National Secretariat for the association after decades of existence.

In a goodwill message, the Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director, Harvestfield Industries LTD, Prince Martins Awofisayo said his firm had in no small measures supported cocoa revolution and revitalisation in the country through various means.

Earlier in an address, the National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke said the COCOA FARMER HOUSE was located in Akure because Ondo state was the highest producer of the cash crop, noting that CFAN was working on  regeneration of Cocoa plantations.

The CFAN President opined, “Furtherance to our commitment to seek finance for the maintenance of our Cocoa plantations in the Year 2020, across Ten Cocoa producing States; Ondo, Cross River, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Delta, Kwara, Edo and Abia, the Association approached and got an approval to access CBN Anchor borrowers program wet season 2020 via Wema Bank as our PFI for the first time, where 1221 Cocoa farmers beneficiaries collected N723,237,372 at the rate of N592,332 @ 3 hectares per beneficiaries ( Cash & Inputs inclusive).

“The impact of this finance on the economy of our farmers, production and productivity cannot be over emphasized amongst the beneficiaries across the lucky States! We give glory to the Almighty God that the majority of the beneficiaries are paying back as agreed as at today, while those who are lagging behind in payment amongst them are to brace up quickly as we will start to take action against any defaulter any moment from August, 2021.

“Let me commend the good effort of the Cocoa stakeholders; Sustainability Groups, Exporters, Processors, Buyers, Researchers, Extension Officers, Cocoa PFI, Warehousing Operators,Transporters and the various programs embarked upon by the federal government via federal ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, the CBN Anchor borrowers program, support of the various Cocoa producing States government on rehabilitation and regeneration of Cocoa plantations, other agencies of the government connected to Cocoa industry.

“Our Cocoa partners and worthy of mention here is Harvestfield industries Limited & Starlink Global & Ideal Limited and more importantly, our great Cocoa farmers whose hard work & contributions to Cocoa Sector are being celebrated with the erection of this building known as “CFAN HOUSE” after 21 years of the existence of the Association,as the umbrella body of smallholder Cocoa farmers in Nigeria!

“In keeping to our words to mobilize and train our Cocoa farmers on GAP & Safe use of inputs, the Association in partnership with our Researchers and Harvestfield Industries Limited have toured 90% of the Cocoa producing States to educate and demonstrate to our Cocoa farmers the importance of GAP and safe use application of Inputs in our Cocoa plantations.

Thus, CFAN HOUSE could not‘ have been achievable without the Grace of the Almighty God and the support/contributions of my great and super reliable National Executive Members, whose collaboration, encouragement, advice, support, unity for success and prayers cannot be quantified. Please join me to give them three “Gbosas”.

“Let me also appreciate the uncommon and outstanding support being rendered by our partner; Harvestfield Industries Limited for the good discharging of their social responsibility to the Cocoa farmers of Nigeria.

“Our idea for building this CFAN HOUSE is to further strengthen and sharpening our administrative capacity in order to serve our smallholder Cocoa farmers better for an enhanced leadership performance and deliverables. And, in achieving this CFAN HOUSE today, no single Kobo or naira or foreign currency or in any form either by donation has been received or collected from anybody, except the donation of the needed Air conditioning equipments to serve this Secretariat by Harvestfield Industries Limited.

“This project is however today solely founded through our Association Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and financial borrowing anchored on prudent management of resources in order to achieve the Commissioning.

“You can all look at this small building and the remaining space we are occupying, you will agree with me that the Association will appreciate your support in terms of motor bus provision to help our staff in the Secretariat and the utilization of the remaining land space for economic purposes or using it for value addition of our Cocoa beans or fashioning out other useful areas probably on joint sales of our beans and warehousing of inputs,” Adegoke said.

The official opening of National Secretariat Complex of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) and unveiling of Cocoa Pod Sculpture, held at Owode area in Akure on Monday July 26, 2021 was also attended by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu; the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; the Head of Service, Pastor John Adeyemo; the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mrs Karima Babangida; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agric Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu among others.

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