As part of measures geared towards fulfilling its agricultural development promise towards job creation, food security and economic empowerment, Ogun State Government has donated 10,000 improved cocoa seedlings to Tulip Cocoa Processing Limited, for onward distribution to farmers in Ijebu-East Local Government.
Handing over the seedlings, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, represented by the Director, Tree Crops and Rural Development, Mr. James Oyesola, noted that the initiative was a sign of government’s commitment to woo more private organizations to participate in agricultural interventions that will improve the economy of the State and the livelihood of farmers.
Odedina disclosed that the initiative of distributing the planting material palliatives was informed by the State Government’s drive to grow the State’s economy through agriculture, assuring that the improved cocoa seedlings would start yielding in two years, and would in-turn make Ogun the largest cocoa producer in the country.
He enjoined the beneficiaries to make good use of the seedlings and embrace new and best agricultural practices in the planting of cocoa, as well as utilize the skills of extension officers provided by government, to boost the quality of their input to meet world standard.
“This is a community driven project and this is the fourth location we have been to, to give free improved seedlings to farmers as mandated by the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun. Due diligence would be done to ensure we get results. So I urge our farmers to be judicious in the use of this farming inputs and nuture them well, so as to boost their income”, Odedina said.
The Managing Director of Tulip, Mr. Johan Van Der Merwe, expressed delight at the proactiveness of government in responding to their request for free cocoa seedlings for the farmers from whom the company off-take cocoa produce.
He expressed optimism that the initiative would positively impact the farmers as the new cocoa breeds would replenish the old-dying trees and increase production at its maturation, thereby boosting their earnings.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the President of Agbegbemi Cocoa Farmers Production and Marketing Cooperative Union, Alhaji Rasheed Adegoke, applauded the government for such notable gestures, promising to make Ogun State a leader in cocoa production not only in Nigeria but West Africa.