CRIN, NEPC train cocoa farmers on best agricultural practices, in Bayelsa

Picture showing the organizers and farmers during the training section, in Bayelsa.

The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has organised a training workshop for cocoa farmers in Bayelsa.
The three-day training workshop, which took place on Friday at the Domaris Garden and Suit Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, was on best agricultural practices and the use of pesticides on cocoa.
It was reported that the organisations, the training is in line with the efforts of the Federal Government to diversify non-oil exports, develop better production of cocoa and its export.
Speaking, a plant breeder from CRIN, Mr Festus Olasupo, who was a resource person, said the farmers were taught latest techniques that would enhance the quality of cocoa beans they produce, adding that the farmers needed to be taught how they could give the best.
He said the training would enhance better appreciation of cocoa beans produced in Nigeria, both within and outside Nigeria.
According to him, not only will this be a solution to food shortage in the country, but it will also be a viable alternative to crude oil.
Olasupo, said that cocoa was first planted in Bonny, now Rivers State, in 1874, before it was migrated to Ibadan, now Oyo State South West, before getting to other states of the West.
“Cocoa is the key Nigeria started the cocoa production with in the 50s and 60s, before the oil boom.
“I am urging Bayelsa farmers to go into cocoa production. it’s very lucrative more than the oil that all depends on,” he said.
Mr David Alagoa, Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bayelsa , said that through the training, the dream of having a zero oil economy would be achieved soon.
Represented at the training by Mrs George Abiye, Alagoa, commended CRIN and NEPC for organising the workshop for farmers in Bayelsa, for the first time.
He urged farmers to take the training serious because it would surely help them to make more money in the cocoa business.
In his address, Mr Joe Itah, Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, South South Office, Port-Harcourt, said that the workshop was aimed at building the capacity of farmers in the business of cocoa production and its value chains.
According to him, the ultimate goal is to enhance its contribution to non-oil export earnings of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The South South Coordinator said it presents the potency to create hundreds of jobs raise the Internally Generated Revenue of the State, and feed thousands of Bayelsa people, if properly harnessed and exploited.
“The One-State-One-Product (OSOP) growth pillar of Zero Oil Plan indicated cocoa as one of the promising products from Bayelsa State.
“An initial export potential survey by the NEPC Regional Office revealed the existence of a one-time thriving cocoa plantations economy in Bayelsa State-an item on which the state predominantly rested her fiscal budget upon, at one time,” he said.

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