Farmers in Osun, Oyo urged to embrace good practices
Cocoa association laments invasion of farms by miners
Farmers producing cocoa in Osun and the Oyo States have been urged to embrace good agricultural practices, keep the environment sustainable, and ensure the quality of cocoa beans to avoid rejection in the international market.
The National President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Mr Adeola Adegoke, said this while the flagging-off distribution of booklets on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in cocoa production to small-scale cocoa farmers on Monday in Osun State and Tuesday, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The farmers were advised to avoid the use of child labour, unapproved agro-chemicals, bush burning, deforestation and other sharp practices that are capable of jeopardising the environment and putting consumers in danger.
They were also urged to embrace training on certification, keep records of sources of seedlings, date of planting and other information that could help in tracing places of production and other labelling information.
The handbook illustrates steps and practices to increase cocoa productivity per hectare and the overall national yearly production.
Nigeria has 14 major cocoa-producing states Ondo, Cross River, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kogi, Delta, Taraba and Adamawa.
The association commended the Osun State government for supporting farmers in cocoa production and value chain development, and for providing a conducive environment.
Osun and Oyo marked the fourth and sixth cocoa-producing states where the free distribution of Cocoa GA booklets has been done by the association, respectively.
Adegoke said: “We intend to partner with the state government, our royal fathers and other stakeholders in Osun State on the need to stop the destructive and negative activities of miners across our cocoa plantations in the state.
“The reality of this threat by the miners in the state has reduced the state’s cocoa production capacity drastically and made many of our farmers to be jobless as a result of the destruction of their farms in the state.
“The living incomes of our smallholder cocoa farmers have dropped in the state, while many of our indigenous cocoa farmers are now being forced to migrate to other states for cocoa farming activities as tenants, due to the negative activities of these miners who invade cocoa farms at will.”
He said protection of human rights and remediation, conserving the environment (ecosystem) in cocoa communities and making livelihood sustainable through cocoa production was a collective top priority of the association.
He added that the $400 living income differential (LID) being advocated by the association could only be achieved through the meticulous implementation of the guidelines in the booklet.
MEANWHILE, Oyo State cocoa farmers, yesterday, at NUT Guest House Hall, Ibadan, received free copies of the cocoa booklets co-sponsored by CFAN, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), EBAFOSA Nigeria, Harvest-field Industries Limited, Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and other stakeholders.
The president, Adogoke, said the distribution of the booklet is intended to increase Nigeria’s cocoa productivity and production, quality assurance of our cocoa beans, production of premium cocoa beans, child labour eradication, stop deforestation, up-scale traceability and certification in cocoa supply chain, and ingrain responsible usage of pesticides across major cocoa-producing states in Nigeria.