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Thursday, 15 November 2012 00:00
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Agric body seeks improvement in cocoa production

The Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), has called for improvement in the quality and quantity of cocoa production in the country.
The National President of the association, Dr Victor Iyama who made the call in Lagos, urged Nigerian youths to embrace farming and cocoa production in particular, stressing that “Nigerians should be looking towards improvement in the production of cocoa. That is what really need.”

He said “We really need to gear up and make sure we produce more cocoa. “It’s not only that it will bring in more revenue, and more needed foreign exchange, but it will create lots and lots of employment.
He stressed,“Our youths are out there; cocoa farming and even other farming can easily provide the much needed employment for unemployed youths and even some middle-aged men that is where we are going towards.
“That is where we are going towards, that is what we want to do in FACAN.’’
Nigeria currently produce less than 300,000 tonnes of cocoa as against Cote De’Voire and Ghana that turn out more than one million tonnes into the world market annually.

He allayed fears of the long gestation of cocoa trees, saying that there were improved varieties of seedlings that could take few years to mature.
He added “Cocoa farming, though, it’s tedious, it takes some time but with the new improved variety that are being introduced, our youths can always be encouraged to go into it because they are not patient.
“Once you have a variety of two or two and half years, why not? “Instead of them roaming the streets looking for jobs that are not in existence, they (youths) can go into that, not only cocoa farming, all sorts of farming.’’
Iyama called on government to provide the enabling environment for agriculture to strive in order to provide more jobs to the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

“What we are praying for is an enabling environment, which I believe the government is very serious at doing, because it’s very simple.
“If you set up a factory, how many people can the factory employ? It will only employ some. If you take a 20,000 tonnes factory for example, yes it will do its bit, maybe it will employ about 100 people a 20,000 tonnes capacity farm will employ about 14,000 people.’’
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, under its Growth Enhancement Programme, had promised to aid cocoa production with 3.5 million cocoa pods for production into improved seedlings.
Already, the Cocoa Association of Nigeria had received the first tranche of 50,000 pods for distribution to seedling producers.

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