The Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, says the state government is targeting to be first in cocoa production and is, therefore, taking the necessary measures to boost the production of the cash crop.
Esu said this on Monday at Ikom during the Tree Crops Development Cocoa Value Chain Capacity Building workshop for cocoa estate managers, farmers and agricultural officers.
The workshop, Esu said, is expected to impact on management and extension delivery system for high quality and increased yield in cocoa production in the state.
He said it was time the state returned to agriculture as an alternative source of income in view of the dwindling federal allocation.
He, therefore, enjoined all participants to take the workshop serious for the benefit of farmers and the state.
He said that the workshop, organised by the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of the participants for effective and safe use of agrochemicals in cocoa production.
Earlier in a remark, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Anthony Eneji, noted that cocoa production required professional skills for increased production.
Eneji described as apt the theme of the workshop which is “Professionalism and Service Delivery: Effective Management Systems for Increased Yield and High-Quality Cocoa Production’’.
He underscored the importance of regular capacity training on the new techniques for improved yield for cocoa managers and farmers
According to him, the ministry, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, is poised to revolutionalise cocoa production in the state to meet the required international standard.
He identified the sustenance of effective management system for increased yield as the challenge of cocoa production.
Also speaking, Mr Ogban Ekpe, the Head of Administration, Ikom Local Government Council, explained that cocoa plays an important role in revenue generation and its attendant capacity for job creation.
Cocoa estate managers, cocoa farmers and agricultural officers from the 18 local government areas of the state are attending the two-day workshop.
Currently, Cross River occupies the second position after Ondo on this list of major cocoa producers in Nigeria.
The other states are Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ekiti, Delta, Osun and Oyo.