Cocoa farmers in the State of Osun are optimistic that the 2021 planting season will yield enormously in profit and quality.
This is as they expressed excitement with the collaboration of a leading Agro Business firm in Nigeria, AFEX Exchange Limited with the Central Bank of Nigeria which will drive better opportunities for their business.
At a 2-day programme held at the Ife CPMU Building in Ile-Ife, State of Osun, farmers were exposed to training in sustainability, improved quality of produce as well as the benefits in conforming with international best practices to boost the fortunes of their business.
Dimeji Green, the Sustainability Manager of AFEX, said the company is poised towards boosting the value chain of cocoa production in the country in a bid to optimise opportunities for all stakeholders.
Green noted that, “AFEX is an organisation that priorities the welfare of farmers especially Cocoa Farmers. This is why we are interested in educating the farmers in line with international best practices and to ensure a great yield.”
“We want you to see farming as a big business. In some nations, farmers are the major decider in the political and economic fortune of such nations. That is what AFEX is trying to do to bring everybody together to seek an improved way of doing things and importantly, boost the revenue they make from it.”
Mr Kazeem Sanni who spoke on the Importance of Sustainable Farming and Essence of Certification told the farmers that AFEX is ready to encourage them to ensure that Cocoa farming and production in Osun received a great turnaround.
“Cocoa farming and production has been in existence in Nigeria for over 150 years. The sustainability level has been low and this is the major reason why we are here.
” The priority of sustainability is ensuring that our production yield is progressive and continues like that annually. Another area is the income generation which is key. As farmers, we must be conscious of these major points and look at ways to ensure sustainability in our Cocoa business.”
Asiwaju Bolawa Oladokun while engaging the farmers on how to be the best in what they do stressed the importance of being committed to the AFEX/CBN partnership as more benefits will be brought to their doorsteps.
Oladokun stated, “Trust and relationship is the foundation of trade and business. We must learn to build the trust and relationships with our produce buyers. This will further help us maximise profit and remain consistent in business. Credit management is also very vital.”
“Credit management is also very important. We must be very careful as farmers. We must be honest and ensure payment in due time.
“Farmers Cooperative societies is also a veritable platform to enhance the growth of our businesses. As farmers, we must ensure we join a profitable one. If there are issues, they must solve it internally. The cooperatives will boost the potentials of the farmers to access credit facilities, be exposed to various trainings as well as opportunities in the cocoa industry.
As businessmen and women in Cocoa farming, participants were tasked on identifying the little things that either make or mar their business.
Other officials of AFEX took turns to further sensitise the farmers and representatives of cooperative societies on how to improve their yield, maximise sustainable investment, get the proper certification, partner with the requisite cooperative societies and as well understand the business strategies of being a market leader in the Cocoa business in Nigeria.
The participants asked questions which were attended to while they lauded AFEX for bringing such a programme to their doorsteps.
In an interview shortly after the programme, the AFEX C.E.O, Ayodeji Balogun said the company is always ready to be a solution provider to all players in the Cocoa business in a bid to tap into the full potentials of the industry.