Cocoa farmers in Cross River State are to receive free hybrid cocoa seedlings courtesy of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria. They will also receive free training on how to rehabilitate their old cocoa farms using budding and grafting system.
In a statement released by the Cross River State Chapter of the Association and signed by Mr. Godwin Ukwu and Mr. Roland Enah, Zonal Vice President and State Chairman respectively, the exercise is part of the activities lined up to flag off this year’s cocoa planting and rehabilitation programme by the Association in conjunction with the Cross River State Government.
According to the statement, the Association nursed over 500,000 seedlings of the new TC1-TC8 varieties of cocoa developed by Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria over the past 6 months. The main objective is to make the new varieties available to cocoa farmers in the nation’s number two cocoa producing state. This is further cement her position and further entrench the culture of using approved planting materials in cocoa farms across the 10 cocoa-producing local government areas cut across the 3 senatorial zones of the State.
Messrs Ukwu and Enah noted that the Association had been providing this corporate social responsibility service for the past 10 years to support Government’s effort in promoting increased cocoa production in terms of quantity and quality.
At a ceremony planned for the 26th and 27th of this month, Dr. Anna Muyiwa of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria will lead a practical session to train farmers how to undertake rehabilitation of their cocoa farms. Dr. Muyiwa will equally demonstrate grafting and budding techniques that will help farmers to revamp their farms without losing any income.
Governor Ben Ayade will give a Keynote Address on investment opportunities in Cross River State while former Senate Leader, Ndoma Egba will challenge the youth in a talk on “untapped opportunities for youth and women in cocoa growing regions”.
According to the Association, the highlight of the event will be the presentation of awards to deserving farmers and other stakeholders. The Market Place will feature latest technologies, inputs and products in the cocoa value chain.