Akure- Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Associations of Nigeria (CPFAN) at the weekend called on the Federal Government to come to their rescue as ants (pests) have destroyed their crops, particularly tomato and plantain.
This was disclosed during the inauguration of the Ondo State chapter of the association, cutting across all 18 local government areas of the state.
Addressing newsmen after the inauguration, the state Chairman of the association, Mr. Oluronikise Ibidapo, lamented that their cocoa beans and plantains were destroyed by some pests which affected the expected harvests.
He revealed that the magnitude of destruction of their crops by the ants (pests) was devastating due to their inability to work on their plantations during the COVID-19 breakout.
Mr. Ibidapo, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their aid through provision of chemicals, farm implements, seedlings, as well as funds to cushion the effects of the pests invasion, noting that cocoa generates high revenue for the nation.
Appreciating President Buhari for his support for farmers, particularly the provision of loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), they solicited for financial intervention to help farmers in the South and the rest the Northern states that didn’t benefit from the N13 billion recently released to some Northern states to cushion effects of pests invasion on their farms.
He observed that the intervention was made by President Buhari because governors of the beneficiary states complained before the president.
The farmers also appealed to state governors to assist them by providing cocoa seedlings and plantain suckers for them during the planting season, calling for special attention for wheat and beans production.
He appealed to the Minister of Agriculture to make plantain part of the Ministry’s major programme, adding that more cocoa seedlings should be provided in the next planting season because the 66,000 seedlings provided in the last planting season were not enough.
Mr. Ibidapo, who appreciated Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for his support for farmers, also called upon state governors to attend to all roads leading to their farmsteads, which he noted had been the bane of their revenue annually.
He said most of their harvests wasted away due to the poor conditions of the access roads to their farmsteads.
The CPFAN chairman expressed optimism that their revenue generation would rise drastically if all the access roads were attended to.
However, he enjoined all cocoa and plantain farmers in all the 18 local government areas of the state to join the association in their various local governments for them to benefit from different enlightenment programmes of the association.