By Richard NDOMA, Calabar
In an effort to make the state become a leading Cocoa production state in Nigeria, the Cross River State Government has raised about 10million improved variety cocoa seedlings for Cultivation.
Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Cocoa development and control, Dr. Oscar Ofuka disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists shortly after he completed inspection of Cocoa plot at the Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation demonstration farm Calabar.
Ofuka stated that in a bid to root for increased production of Cocoa cash crop in the state, the Cross River State Government under the leadership of Prof. Ben Ayade has acquired additional 20,800 hectares of land for Cocoa Cultivation in the state.
He said that the initiative is for expansion of the already existing cocoa estate planted some decades ago by the Opara administration which he said has become moribund leading to very low production capacity of the farms.
Ayade’s aide stressed that state government has raised about 10,000 improved variety of cocoa seedlings for replacement of the existing moribund cocoa estate.
Ofuka averred that cocoa is one crop that can grow in all parts of the state and the country stressing that target of the state government is to become the leading producer of cocoa cash crop in the world.
In his words Ofuka, said, “We have acquired 7,000 hectares of land at Ekuri Etera in Etung LGA of the state with another, 10,000 hectares at Nege Community in Akamkpa, 3,800 hectares in Akin Osomba and this is a breakthrough for the state.
” We have raised well over 10 million improved cocoa variety and we have replaced them at the old cocoa estates so there is great prospect for the state to become the leading producer of cocoa.
“From what we have seen at this demonstration farm, there is a clear demonstration that cocoa grows everywhere in the state so we are returning back to agriculture”, Ofuka said.
Ayade’s aide stressed that the government decided to cultivate 10 million improved cocoa varieties because the government owned cocoa estates have become moribund having been cultivated 60 years ago.
Ofuka described that variety of Cocoa being cultivated in the state by the state government as one variety that is of high premium, organic and stressed that the success of the demonstration farm Calabar is remarkable.
He called on Nigerians to go back to agriculture as it marks 60 years so that certain things which had gone wrong in the country due to discovery of crude oil which funded the nation’s infrastructure can be put in the right perspective