…About 300 products can be generated from coconut.
As part of efforts to improve the nation’s economy, the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has appealed to the youths, retired military officers, retired senior public officers and businessmen to embrace agricultural practice, while calling for their cooperation and active participation in the sector.
Akeredolu made the call during the Ondo State Cocoa Day, the 3rd edition of the Ondo State Agriculture Show and Food Fair, in Akure, organised by the Ondo State Agricultural Commodities’ Association (OSACA) with the theme: “Agricultural Commodities: Basic Instruments for Economic and Industrial Revolution.’’
The governor, who was represented by Mr Olayato Aribo, Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, urged retirees to practice agriculture in order not to leave it at the hands of peasant farmers.
According to him, there is a need to produce quality and acceptable farm produce to the International communities by discouraging the use of harmful agro chemicals.
“I wish to call on all stakeholders in the agric sub-sector, particularly our farmers and its associations, to strive for increased output in order to feed the agro-allied industries for optimum production.
“The state government on its part shall continue to ensure and enforce quality control of agricultural produce to ensure that farm products from Ondo State are acceptable to the international market.
“Our educated youths and retirees can join hands with OSACA to form a formidable team for farmers in Ondo State.
Also speaking, Mrs Okuwafunmilayo Ewa-Jesu, National Organising Secretary of National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), said that about 300 products could be generated from coconut.
She also admonished youths to embrace the cultivation of coconut for them to be self-reliant
“Coconut is a product that a family can plant where a generation to generation can benefit from it.
“If we talk about unemployment of youths, each of the 300 products of coconut plantation can create employment for our youths, wealth and county at large,” she said.
Earlier, Mr Gbemitan Abolarinwa, National President of Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), called on farmers to engage in smart agricultural practice and irrigation system rather than the age-long rain-fed agricultural practice.
Abolarinwa, who was represented by Mr Ademola Agbada, said that the issue of diversification of the Nigeria economy from petroleum to agriculture played a major role in the economic agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
He further called on governments to place much emphasis on funding the upstream (production) sector of the cocoa value chain, saying it would increase production and sustainability.
“The only panacea to our dwindling foreign exchange is to increase our agricultural commodities production, increase our value addition as well as our exportation drive.
“We can only achieve this through a collaborative synergy between governments at all levels and the critical stakeholders,” he said.
On his part, Dr Olusegun Awolumate, Chairman, Ondo State Cocoa Council, appreciated the state government for its role in cocoa production, saying the council would continue to promote and develop climate-smart cocoa production.
According to him, the innovation of intensification will increase and bring a higher yield, if farmers can adopt it.
“There is a need for effective participation of youths in agribusiness, technology-driven and sustainable cocoa production requirements, as well as international trade/ export practices,” he said.