By Chris Njoku
THE Minister of Ag- riculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has decried lack of attention given to agriculture by Nigerians, especially the youths, stressing that Nigeria has no reason to import any agricultural produce considering the abundant mineral and human resources in the country.
Dr. Adesina, who spoke at the formal launch of a natural cocoa product, ‘Frangada’ powder produced and packaged by Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc., Warewa, Ogun state, recalled with regret, the era in which Nigeria was highest producer of cocoa.
While commending the Multi-Trex for using locally sourced raw material to produce the cocoa beverage, he explained that agriculture should no longer be seen as a development activity, but as a business. “If we see agriculture as business, then, there is no reason Nigeria should be an importer of agricultural produce, but a major exporter.
“There was a time Nigeria had the largest market in cocoa production, but today, other countries have taken over. Ghana today produces 1 million metric tones of cocoa, Ivory Coast produces 1.2 million, Nigeria is at 250,000 metric tones in cocoa production. However, this shouldn’t be so.”
Also speaking, Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, congratulated the management of Multi-Trex on its achievements, assuring manufacturers that the state government would continue to create more conducive environment for the acceleration of industrial growth.
Earlier in his speech, the Managing Director of Multi-Trex, Mr Dimeji Owofemi, noted that the company has become one of the leading companies in cocoa production in Nigeria and has contributed immensely to the industrial growth and development of Ogun State.
He explained that Frangada was designed to create the necessary niche not only in the domestic market, but also in the international markets.
According to him, Frangada could be said to be more than ordinary beverage drink, as it is produced with several health-enriching nutrients. “Frangada does not only contains natural anti-depressant, but also high in antioxidant.”
It also contains nature’s cares for blood pressure, blood sugar and malaria fever,” Owofemi stated.