Urges State governors to invest in agribusiness
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Cross River State Government has disclosed achieving 5, 000 metric tonnes of cocoa production per annum with its Ultra Modern Premium Cocoa Processing Industry.
This was made known by the Acting Chairman, Cross River Cocoa Board, Dr. Oscar Ofuga, after receiving an award on positively impacting humanity at the ‘Great Legend in Africa Gold Award, GLAGA, 2019, organised by the Elation Communications Limited, in Abuja.
Ofuga who was elated with the award and promised to do more for humanity and also stated that oil is no more reliable revenue earner, but the way forward now for survival and sustenance of the Nigerian economy is in agriculture, which Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has taken the lead to open up more agribusinesses across the 18 local government areas of the State with agribusiness projects and programmes.
He also added that the target also is to overtake the current world largest cocoa producer, Cote D’ Ivoire based on the present aggressive approach of the governor by massive land acquisition across the state for just cocoa production, where over 3, 500 people have been allocated land for cocoa cultivation and distribution of 18 months period gestation cocoa seeds and others.
He said: “Nigeria produce under 3,000 metric tonnes of cocoa and that record is not good enough. Cross River State alone has the capacity to produce 5, 000 metric tonnes of cocoa per annum. That is why we have gone on aggressive acquisition of land across the state to cultivate cocoa and we cannot have a digital governor and fail. He is doing everything humanly possible to put smile on the faces of Crossiverians.
“Just in the past one week we have given these parcels of land and existing cocoa plots to about 3, 500 people and we have just created that opportunity for the people. So our target in Cross River State is to hit 5, 000 metric tonnes of cocoa per annum and with the Digital Governor, Prof Ben Ayade we will even surpass that record.
“The ever first Ultra Modern Premium Cocoa Processing Industry in Cross River State. What we have in Cross River State is a total and complete breakthrough because we have established one of the finest, largest and one of the most automated cocoa processing industry will be crushing on completion about a 120, 000 metric tonnes of cocoa per annum.”
“This will add value to cocoa and offer employment to the teeming youth who are in the state. We have acquired 3, 000 hectares of land in Akemkpa to plant cocoa. We are having a cocoa variety with a gestation period of 18 months and with just that alone you can see that Nigeria will take over from Cote d’ Ivoire and we want to beat that Cote d’ Ivoire record and become number one in the world.
Meanwhile, he urged other state governors to emulate the Cross River Governor’s initiative and determination to achieve green revolution for wealth and employment generation including boosting their Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, for development of the State.
“I will enjoin other leaders in the country to emulate the gesture of the Governor of Cross River State because agriculture is the way and with the population explosion the only way we can go is to go back to agriculture because Nigeria’s ecology supports cocoa.
“We need to look inwards because the dependence on the federation account is not helping us. With the salary increase, epileptic nature of infrastructure across the states they are completely insufficient to meet the demands of the people”, he said.