Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria Thursday flagged off the free distribution of the Cocoa GAP Handbook in Abia State.
Speaking during the event, the CFAN National President, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said the farmers’ focus was to increase Nigerian cocoa productivity and production.
Other targets, he said, were quality assurance, child labour eradication, and fighting deforestation among others.
Adegoke who spoke through his National Secretary, High Chief Ngbeyak Leku said the handbook “will mark Nigeria’s path to achieve 100 per cent premium cocoa production with 500,000 metric tons and sustainable practices in the cocoa supply chain in the year 2024 and the highest cocoa producer by 2027”.
He added, “This we have started by providing 12,500 seedlings to Abia State cocoa farmers free of charge”.
“The synergy we got here has not been seen in other 10 states CFAN operates. I hope Ikpeazu will sustain it”, he concluded.
Speaking at the event, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, assured CFAN of steady partnership, saying “as a government that appreciates the importance of agriculture, we cherish the formation of cocoa farmers”.
Represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Governor, Sir Don Ubani, Ikpeazu said he was following the track record of the late Premier of Eastern Nigeria, Michael Okpara, in agriculture and was making much input in the sector.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Ikechi Mgbeoji, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Chief Okey Ihedioha, said his ministry was poised and properly positioned to collaborate with cocoa farmers to get the best yield.
In his remarks, the Cocoa Desk Officer/Abia State Cocoa Transformation Committee, Dr. Ojo Uma Ojo, said the exercise involves the flag-off of new hybrid of cocoa which will enable the farmers to stop using and recycling the old cocoa varieties in their farms.
The state coordinator, CFAN Sir John Kalu, was the chairman of the occasion.