By Ike Uchechukwu, CALABAR
The Outspan Nigeria Limited at the weekend flagged off the distribution of Cocoa seedlings and shade trees to farmers in Ikom, Cross River State for the 2022 farming season while assuring to create as well as boost Cocoa production in the country and beyond.
The event held at the Company’s demonstration farm at Otere, Obudu Road Ikom, attracted farmers from Ikom, Boki, Etung Local Government Areas, Stakeholders in the Cocoa Subsector, Government functionaries among others.
In his address , Principal Officer , Outspan Nigeria Limited, Mr Aaron Chibueze, explained that the aim of the project was to sustain the organization objective to create value for farmers globally and increase their benefits.
He said:”The seedlings we are distributing are the latest variety, reputed for a shorter cultivation period with increased yield.
“We are assuring you that we are committed to helping farmers in areas of their needs while up-taking some of their responsibilities.We will assist you in anyway we can to ease your burdens as way of helping your farms to grow”, he said.
Speaking in a presentation, the Operations Coordinator Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Ikom Office, Mr Christopher Kudemepo that his company has granted scholarships to many farmers children,built some social infrastructure in some communities and many other forms of assistance to farmers.
Kudemepo said the distribution of the seedlings was in line with the mandate to boost Cocoa production and called on farmers to raise their cocoa quality through the new variety.
Earlier, CAN Chairman Cross River State , Mr Ejor Achu Bisong commended the initiative of the company while encouraging farmers to maximize the opportunity in order to improve on their businesses.
On his part, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and Control, Doctor Oscar Ofuka, said the State Government under Governor Ayade has created an enabling environment for farmers through his agro-industrial policies.
He lauded partners including the Organizers for keying into government’ s programme.
The Cross River State Chapter Chairman of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, Ntufam Gabriel Odo Orji, hailed farmers for their hard work adding that without them, there will be no business in Cocoa.
He said the Outspan Nigeria Limited, hold farmers in high esteem by giving them ample support to improve their cultivation and assured of CFAN’s continuous assistance.