Kwara State Deputy Governor and Chairman Kwara State Cocoa Development Committee, Mr Kayode Alabi Thursday flagged off the distribution of cocoa seedlings to farmers for the year 2020 planting season as palliatives.
Delivering his keynote address, the Deputy Governor emphasised the importance of cocoa to the nation’s economy, stressing that cocoa industry is the second largest foreign exchange earner after crude and generates over two million jobs directly or indirectly along its value chain.
Mr Alabi, who noted that Kwara state is known as one of the Cocoa producing states in Nigeria, added that one of the primary goals of the AbdulRazak administration is to increase cocoa production in the state and secure a suitable market for the produce.
He stated AbdulRazaq administration is encouraging value addition through local processing and encouraging local consumption of cocoa products.
Mr Alabi recalled that the Kwara state government, through the ministry of Agriculture, nurtured over fifty thousand cocoa seedlings for the 2020 planting season. Continuing, he said the government is distributing seedlings free of charge to farmers as palliatives to cushion the effect of the pandemic on farmers.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Muritala Olanrewaju stated that the main objective of the program is to redress the situation where Kwara farmers migrate to other states to cultivate cocoa.
He commended the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for changing the narrative, especially in the empowerment of the farmers in all agricultural activities.
The flag-off ceremony, which held at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters, Ilorin, had in attendance representatives of cocoa farmers from across the sixteen local government areas of Kwara state.
The high point of the event was the symbolic presentation of cocoa seedlings to the farmers by the Deputy Governor.