About a hundred farmers in Bayelsa State have been presented with seedlings for improved yield and enhanced production.
Distributing the cocoa seedlings to the farmers in Yenagoa, the Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, South- South Regional Office, Port Harcourt, Mr. Joe Itah said the gesture was aimed at reviving the once thriving cocoa plantations in Bayelsa.
Benefitting farmers were drawn from across the local government areas in the State.
The Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, South South Regional Office, Port Harcourt, Mr. Joe Itah explained that with the global demand for cocoa and its derivatives on the rise, Nigeria’s cocoa farmers and entrepreneurs could work towards benefitting from the world’s cocoa processing market valued at over 12 point 4 billion dollars.
Mr. Itah stated that the NEPC decided to distribute the cocoa seedlings to farmers and organize workshops to revive the tree crop in Bayelsa State based on an export potential survey as part of the One State-One-Product growth pillar of the Federal Government’s Zero Oil Plan and the Economic Recovery and Growth plan.
He said the goal was to redirect the State’s economic energy towards resuscitation of the dwindling cocoa fortunes in the State, boost revenue and provide employment for the teeming populace.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, represented by a Staff in the Ministry, Mrs. Ebiye George urged beneficiaries to take advantage of the initiative to grow the cocoa business in Bayelsa.
Programme Manager of the Bayelsa State Agricultural Development Programme, Mr. Jackson Diegbegha urged youths to go into cocoa farming to improve their economic fortunes.
Some of the beneficiaries including Mr. Abel Neki, Richardson Waridomigbomo, and Mrs. Oviemuteti Emmanuel expressed appreciation for the gesture, stating that it would help them grow their cocoa farms.
The forum which had as its theme ‘Resuscitation of Cocoa Produce and Its Development for Exports in Bayelsa State’ had Cocoa Farmers exposed to lectures by resource persons including Dr. Festus Olasupo of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan.
Over 1,111 cocoa seedlings which is enough for one hectare land space acquired from the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria ( CRIN), Ibadan were distributed to farmers, afterwards.