Farmers have been urged toÂ increase their efforts at making the cocoaÂ crop as popular as other crops like cassava so that many people, especially able-bodied youths in the country can join the leagues cocoa farmer millionaires.
Giving this advice recently was the former chairman of the Farmers Congress of Nigeria, Osun State chapter, Chief (Dr.) Bola Otunla, while advising hundreds of farmers at Ibodi town, a town, very close to Ilesa, and known for cocoa farming in Osun State.
According to him, it is becoming clear that the countryâ€™s economy cannot stand without much input and contribution from the agricultural sector and as such, there is the need to focus on large scale production of cocoa because after petroleum, cocoa is the next resource that can turn the nationâ€™s economy round for good.
Chief Otunla, who is also the former chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Osun State, further said many people believed that it was only when you work or get employment in the oil sector that you can become extremely rich, whereas, such a belief or mentality was totally wrong.
â€œWe cannot all work in the oil sector, all of us cannot get employment in the telecommunications industry, but we can all be farmers, irrespective of our profession or training. All of us can also be cocoa farmers, even youths of today can start cocoa planting now . One thing I want everybody to realise is that those who start cocoa farming today are tomorrowâ€™s millionaries. Iâ€™m proud and confident to say this anywhere, anytime,â€ he emphasised.
Commenting on the on-going global economic meltdown, the cocoa farmer said the on-going financial problem which is affecting almost every nation of the world supposed to be a blessing for the country if we had invested seriously in the agricultural sector.
On whether it was possible for agriculture to take over from the down-stream sector in terms of revenue generation, Chief Otunla said there was nothing impossible in Nigeria, adding that, everybody was aware that after petroleum, cocoa is the next thing in terms of revenue generation.
â€œIf the government is serious with agriculture and not paying lip service to the sector, definitely, agriculture can take over from the down-stream sector,â€ he concluded.