Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, says his administration has concluded plans to commence the ware -housing project of lands for agricultural purposes through Ondo State Land Bank Scheme.
The scheme which is novel in this part of the world will encourage communities and individuals land owners to release their lands in trust to the State on lease arrangement in order to make lands easily accessible and available to genuine and serious investors willing to take advantage of vast agricultural opportunities in the state.
Governor Akeredolu disclosed this at the inauguration of the National Executive of Cocoa Farmers Association of in Nigeria CFAN in AKURE on Tuesday.
Represented by the commissioner for Agriculture, Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati, the governor said the scheme was put in place to address perennial shortages of cultivatable lands for agricultural purposes and to encourage more people to go into farming.
Akeredolu who reiterated the commitment of his administration to improve the livelihood of farmers said government has commenced the process of awarding more than 60km of feeders roads, linking the various farm camps and villages to enable our farmers move their produces to the markets without hitch.
While challenging the new executive of CFAN to put in place measures that will encourage youth to be interested in cocoa plantation in order to continue the tradition as the leading cocoa producing State in Nigeria, the Governor enjoined cocoa farmers across the state to take advantage of the on going free distribution of improved cocoa seedlings by Ondo state Ministry of Agriculture to grow their farms and increase their earnings.
He also enjoined farmers to key into the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN N200bn lifeline to all tree crops farmers in Nigeria at a single digit interest rate which will soon commence.
Governor Akeredolu described the CBN offer which came out of several negotiations and high wire politics as the best offer money can buy for the development of this strategic sector.
Earlier in his acceptance speech the National President of CFAN Comrade Adeola Adegoke appreciated the founding fathers of the association such as Dr Bode Olowoporoku and Henry Akingbulugbe for their examplary leadership
He said his leadership is poised to take cocoa business to a new height in the next four years through tackling the challenges of increasing global warming and heat waves using irrigation, working with State actors to improve road network, water supply, health facilities, electricity and taming the menace of herdsmen.
While commending Ondo State government for approving the distributions of free improved cocoa seedlings, the new President of CFAN promised to embark on registration of cocoa farmers across the State, improve agro inputs supply and works assiduously towards raising the quality of cocoa being produced in the State through deliberate value addition.