ILUPEJU – Dr Olawale Abiodun, an Ekiti-based agriculturist, has urged all tiers of government to encourage youths especially in the southern part of the country to embrace cocoa farming.
Abiodun made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Ilupeju in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti state on Tuesday.
He said the development would make the country revive its leading position among the cocoa producing countries of the world.
According to Abiodun, young people need to be encouraged and supported to grow cocoa.
He said this should be done so that Nigeria would be relevant in the committee of nations known for cocoa production.
Abiodun noted that the downward trend in cocoa production could worsen, if youths who should ensure its future survival were not involved.
He observed that majority of youths practicing agriculture were not interested in growing cocoa due to its labour intensive processes.
Abiodun lauded the introduction of the hybrid cocoa varieties by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria.
He said it would make growers to harvest early, unlike the old varieties that took years before bearing fruits.
Abiodun noted that cocoa provided sustainable incomes for a large number of farmers in cocoa producing states in Nigeria, in spite of challenges facing the farmers.
Speaking on cocoa production process, Abiodun noted that it takes minimum of three years to bear fruits after planting and appealed to the Federal Government to supervise and monitor the cultivation of seedlings distributed in the last two years to farmers.
He said that close monitoring and provision of other incentives to the beneficiaries would make the efforts of government in cocoa production successful. (NAN)