Oladunjoye Maps Out Strategies to Reposition Cocoa Farming
By Dipo Olowookere
Foremost Ogun-based politician and farmer, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye, has advised cocoa farmers in the Gateway State to come together to form a united front against those he described as political farmers.
He said this at the Cocoa Farmers Roundtable Conference held at the Muslim Community Event Centre in Ijebu Mushin on Thursday, November 28, 2019.
The former council chairman of Ijebu Mushin local government area of Ogun State, while addressing participants at the gathering, emphasized that the cash crop remains very important to the nation’s economy and has been playing contributory roles in revenue mobilization to the national purse.
According to him, cocoa was the major revenue earner for Nigeria in the 1950s, 1960s and 70s before Nigeria discovered oil boom that has, looking back now, turned to oil doom.
He said, “Cocoa is noted for prosperity. If Cocoa farmers are well taken care of, it will not only improve their productivity, but also prosperity and development of the national economy.”
“Though Nigeria is presently rated as the fourth largest cocoa producer in the world, however, production in Nigeria has continuously dwindled and there is a very wide and increasing gap in the production outputs between Nigeria and other highly rated producing countries like Cote D’ivoire and Ghana,” he added.
He lamented that, “Year in year out, successive administrations announce billions of Naira as support fund for various agricultural crops with little or near-absence effect on the original farmers.”
Mr Oladunjoye told the audience that to reposition cocoa farming, “farmers should register into cooperatives and strengthen the existing ones. Funding from national and international agencies nowadays are better accessed through cooperatives and cluster groups. The farmers must come together to ensure that members who obtain loans are made to pay such loans back in time and fulfill all other contractual obligations.”
In addition, the chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said, “Officers of your association should not wait for government and its agencies. Rather, they should approach government and its agencies to find out about emerging government initiatives, funding and potentials.”
“Government on its own part should continue to provide enabling environment in terms of rural infrastructure, storage, marketing and other aspects of the cocoa value chain.
“Incentives and structured support must be provided for processing within the country to make farmers earn more from their crops,” he added.
Concluding his speech, Mr Oladunjoye, who is a veteran journalist, said, “I must not end this brief remarks without imploring the members of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) to practice their trade with total respect for government regulations and laws.”
Business Post gathered that the roundtable conference themed Repositioning Nigerian Cocoa Industry for the Prosperity of Cocoa Farmers and Production of Quality Beans Across Producing States in Nigeria, was attended by several cocoa farmers in the area.