EXCLUSIVE: Abia Government Approves N20M For Cocoa Pesticides And Equipment
Abia State Government in its renewed efforts to diversify earnings potential and maximise the benefit of fertile soil has approved N20 million for the purchase of cocoa pesticides, equipment and hydrocarbon jute bags for cocoa production.
The states Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Uzo Azubuike said while declaring open a one-day ‘Export Market Meet’ on Tuesday in Umuahia. The meet was organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
The items, he said would be distributed to cocoa farmers in the state at 50 per cent subsidised rate to ensure a bumper and healthy harvest. “This will definitely present Abia better in the cocoa map of the nation,” said the commissioner, who was represented by Mr Elem Okorie, a director in the ministry.
He said that the state government had commenced a “systematic rehabilitation and rejuvenation of moribund agricultural estates,” such as cocoa, oil palm, rubber and cashew, abandoned by past administrations in the state.
Azubuike re-emphasized the commitment of government toward re-positioning the cocoa sector in line with national and international market demands through aggressive development of the product. He said that Abia, which ranked eighth among cocoa producing states in Nigeria, is endowed with good tropical climate and vast land for massive cocoa production.
Also speaking, Mr Christian Elekwa, the Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC Smart Office, Aba, said that the workshop was organised to sensitise stakeholders in the cocoa industry on the need to produce high quality products to meet the requisite standard for export.
Elekwa said that the workshop became imperative in order to make cocoa products from Nigeria acceptable in the international market. He said that there had been rising concern over the integrity and quality of some raw agricultural and semi-processed products from Nigeria.
Elekwa also said that NEPC had stepped up efforts to boost the nation’s export from non-oil sector in line with the Federal Government’s policy on diversification. “The current dwindling revenue from oil as a result of a fall in the global oil price has placed further responsibilities on NEPC to promote increase in the contribution of non-oil exports to the economy,”