The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), has called on the Federal Government to support its cocoa planting materials to boost production and increase export.
Dr Olayiwola Olubamiwa, the CRIN Executive Director, made this call at a five-day capacity building workshop on cocoa production and processing for farmers on Friday in Akure.
The workshop was organised by the Emraj Global Services Ltd in collaboration with the institute and sponsored by the Senate and House of Representative committee on Agriculture.
Olubamiwa, who was represented by Dr Rasheed Adedeji, Director of CRIN, said government’s support would enable the institution produce plant materials in large quantities.
According to him, the institute has a proposal that is going to cost N150 million and with that, CRIN will be producing about two million planting materials yearly.
“Let us do it the way it was done before, when government empowered CRIN to produce planting materials and train agriculture extension workers to carry information and planting materials to farmers.
“We should go back to that because without putting enough we can never get enough; science has gone beyond using ordinary seedlings.
“Let the federal and state governments support CRIN because we have more opportunities to tap’’ the CRIN executive director said.
He said that the type of cocoa given to farmers before the minimum year could be fruitful in five years but now within two years, the farmers were already harvesting.
Olubamiwa said that the quantity realised from the old variety was a maximum of 400kg per hectare but now, the new one was a maximum of 4,500kg per hectare per year.
“If government can empower farmers through CRIN to produce planting materials in a large quantity, it will be able to certify our needs and serve as export.
“Outside Nigeria, they have identified with our quality cocoa, the Republic of Guinea is asking the institute to supply 300,000 planting materials,” Olabamiwa said.
Prof. Omole Adeboye, the consultant with Emraj Global Services Ltd, said the workshop was organised to make people embrace agriculture, especially cocoa production.
According to Adeboye, more than 60 cocoa farmers were drawn from the southwest of the country to participate in cocoa production and processing.
“We want youths to return to Agriculture, especially cocoa production that we have neglected.
He said that Agriculture had remained the main stream of the economy, but that the country neglected it because of petroleum.
Adeboye urged the people to embrace agriculture and create job opportunities for the teaming youths.