Cocoa Farmers yesterday predicted low output this year due to various factors that have not been addressed by the Federal Government.
Visible among the problems, is the sub-standard chemicals and Cocoa inputs allegedly procured for farmers last year by the Federal Ministry of Agricilture.
At a news conference in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Chief Raimi Adeniji, lamented that the fake inputs distributed to farmers last year led to flowering and untimely ripening of Cocoa Pods.
This he noted would result into further decline of Nigeria’s Cocoa beans production in the current 2018/2019, if procurement of cocoa inputs was not reviewed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Adeniji alerted President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister in Charge of the Ministry, Chief Audu Ogbeh that in spite of various complaints by cocoa farmers last year, the Ministry’s Officials still went ahead to award fresh contract to the same who supplied the same fake inputs last year such as Jute bag, Solo pump, fungicide(Champ do) Cutlass and others without considering the implication on cocoa farmers.
The CFAN President said” it is also sad that up till now,the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has not invited CFAN to substantiate its claims, but decided to set up a Committee com prising Cocoa Research Institution(CRIN)International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA) and other for’ uncertain voyage’.
The Cocoa farmer also used the occasion to appeal for prompt assistance to Cocoa farmers that lost their farms to inferno which according to him,consumed almost one-quarter of the Nigeria’s Cocoa farmland during the last dry season in the country.
He urged Buhari and Ogbeh to direct the supervisory Ministry to invite Executives of the Association for discussion on way to address the problems militating against Cocoa farmers before the situation get out of hands.
Adeniji assured the President of the support of Cocoa farmers to his administration especially on its Agricultural policy and drive to move the nation forward.