ONDO State Government has raised 1.5m cocoa seedlings for onward distribution to farmers in the state in accordance with Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s 12-point agenda to boost agriculture
The deputy governor of the state, Alhaji Alli Olanusi stated this while briefing newsmen on the National Cocoa Day, held in Umahia Capital of Abia state.
According to him, the state government is determined to reposition Ondo State in her proper place in the area of agricultural development, particularly Cocoa production, which was the main stay of the state’s economy before the advent of petroleum resources.
He stated further that the state government’s goal on cocoa rebirth was premised on increase production through modern-day farming methods, improved technology and research, adding that the state government would encourage massive plantation for large scale farmers, co-operatives and communities.
The deputy governor also disclosed that the state government would improve the marketing strategies in the state, so as to ensure better and stable prices for farmers in the state and that the existing grading fees would be reviewed with a view to making the fees competitive to the advantage of farmers.
Concerning government policy on free cocoa drink for primary school pupils in a bid to promote its local consumption, Olanusi revealed that it was not feasible at the moment in Ondo State following the low production capacity of cocoa processing factories in the state.
He regretted that the two processing factories in the state, Ile-Oluji Cocoa Industries and Starmark Cocoa Industries are presently not processing at installed-capacity.
According to him, “the state government cannot give what it does not have; hence, it is impracticable that the policy works in this state.”
-From FUNSHO OJO, Akure