In a bid to reposition Ekiti as a leading cocoa producer, the government on Tuesday distributed agro chemicals to cocoa farmers in the state.
The Ekiti Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Olabode Adetoyi, presented the items to the farmers in Ado-Ekiti and reiterated the government’s commitment to sustaining its intervention to the farmers.
Mr Adetoyi explained that the goal was to tackle and control pests and diseases that were capable of reducing the quality and quantity of cocoa produced in the State.
He said that the distribution of the chemicals to cocoa farmers was to signify the importance the state government gave to cocoa production and food security in the State.
According to him, the government is passionate about strengthening its partnership with private investors in increasing the production of coca in the state.
This, he said, informed the allocation of large expanses of land to three private investors for the cultivation of more than 10,000 hectares of cocoa in the State.
The commissioner further said that the private investors had also agreed to train local cocoa farmers in the state on modern techniques to improve production and quality of the commodity.
He commended Governor Fayemi of Ekiti for approving the replacement of aging cocoa trees which resulted in the production of more than 200,000 seedlings of high improved variety of cocoa, 55,000 of cashew seedling and 10,000 of oil palm.
“We thank Gov. Fayemi for the approval given to the ministry to replace aging cocoa trees in the state.
“This made the ministry of agriculture to collaborate with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in production of over 200,000 seedlings of highly improved varieties of cocoa, 55,000 of cashew and of course 10,000 of oil palm.
“All these seedlings, with approval of the governor, were to be distributed at no charge to all the farmers.
“Presently the ministry has subsidised a new improved hybrid for cocoa and that is why we have to make the farm input and agro chemical available so that the plantation can be maintained,” he said.
The commissioner assured the farmers that the state legislature would ensure the formulation of strict laws against bush burning which has had a negative impact on cocoa plantation.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Oluwagbenga Odesanmi, said that the agro chemicals to be distributed to the farmers included 13,100 sachets of fungicides and 360 litres of insecticide.
Also, Alagbada Adeniran, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ekiti Chapter, commended the state government for the gesture.
He said the gesture would go a long way in ameliorating the challenges of cocoa farmers in combating pest and cocoa related diseases.