Towards achieving its agenda of improved agricultural production through exports of farm produce, Ogun State government has taken steps to improve the quality of its Cocoa produce, so as to meet up with demands in the international market.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe, made this known in his key note address at the 2019 Annual Produce Stakeholders Workshop and Cocoa pre-season meeting, organised by the Produce Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Abeokuta.
Oredipe noted that the State Government has sought tailored cocoa fertilizer blends, which would rapidly improve yields from 300kg per hectare to about 500kg per hectare, challenging stakeholders in the cocoa industry to join hands with Government to increase productivity of existing produce and develop new plantations for improved exportable agricultural produce.
“This workshop has come 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 3.7 million metric tonne of Cocoa beans annually, we are trying to accelerate our production capacity to ensure we contribute a large chunk of the global demand”, he said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye, submitted that the meeting was borne out of the desire to enhance the quality and quantity of exportable agricultural produce that would transform into more wealth for the State.
She affirmed that government was committed to tackling the attendant challenges and constraints that may arise in its bid at increasing agricultural exports, expressing optimism that the State would begin to reap the proceeds of its investment in the sector, in respect to higher tonnage of cocoa.
The Director, Produce Services in the Ministry, Mr. Shamsideen Adenopo highlighted the need to sensitize the stakeholders towards sanitizing the produce business, to curb activities of some unscrupulous elements, which according to him, have taken their tolls on quality and marketing of the produce.
Speaking on behalf of Chairmen of crop produce, Mr. Sesan Sowunmi, appreciated the State Government for its determination at developing agriculture, appealing to Government to provide cocoa estate, as well as enabling environment for cash crops to thrive in the State.