The Chairman of the South West Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, on Wednesday, assured that the state would soon reclaim its position in quality cocoa production in the country by working with relevant stakeholders for improved cocoa production and a better economy.
Akeredolu, who spoke while playing host to the Ondo State Cocoa Council delegation led by the chairman, Dr. Olusegun Awolumate, said the time had come for the state to be recognised for what it is, just as he promised to work with the incoming administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to achieve the desired results.
Akeredolu also urged the team to continue to sensitise and educate cocoa farmers in the state on the need to be in tune with the current happenings and new hybrid cocoa seedlings so that they can enjoy the benefits.
Earlier, Awolumate, specifically appreciated Akeredolu’s inauguration of the Council in 2021.
Awolumate said the cocoa sector has the desired potential to become the lifeline of the state’s economy, as it did in the sixties during the defunct Western Region of Nigeria.
The Chairman listed the achievements so far since inauguration, including regular partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders, both local and international cocoa development organisations and financial institutions.
Awolumate informed the governor of plans to construct Sunshine Cocoa Tower in Akure.
He further promised continuous collaboration with critical stakeholders and implementation of necessary activities on the Ondo State Cocoa Bond Project while pursuing the proposed re-introduction of Regional Commodity Boards for strategic crops, including cocoa.
Also, in his presentation, a Chief Executive Officer, Afex Commodities Exchange Limited, Engr. Ayodeji Balogun, lauded the governor for his wisdom in setting up the Cocoa Board and also creating provisions for the development of Cocoa in Ondo State and continuing to establish the State as the foremost Cocoa producing and processing state in Nigeria.
While assuring the governor of better partnership, the CEO said the company operates in 28 states and has close to 200 warehouses, working on ten commodities and serving 450,000 farmers in Nigeria.
Balogun added that the essence was to create a market to unlock prosperity for the farmers and ensure that they sell their commodities transparently and in a way that fosters the development of the farmers and the commodities at large.