From: Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Osun State has concluded plans to celebrate its 121 years feat in production of cocoa which is reputed as the foremost cash crop in the entire South West.
Tagged “2017 Cocoa Festival,” with the theme: “The Royal Origins and Traditions of Cocoa for Sustainability,” the week-long celebration which will begin on November 26, will be held in Eti-Oni, the community where cocoa farming and production first started in the South West.
Daily Sun gathered that thousands of eminent dignitaries from all walks of life, including government officials, from both state and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, farmers, traditional rulers, economists, tourists would attend the event to brainstorm on how to boost cocoa production with a view to actualising the ongoing plans by government to diversify the economy with agriculture.
The monarch of the community, the Oloni of Eti-oni, Oba Thompson Adedokun, told newsmen in Osogbo, the state capital, on Tuesday, that the Cocoa Festival which was an initiative of the Eti-Oni Development Group, was an annual celebration of the cultural heritage of the community to showcase the community’ feat in as the trail blazer in cocoa farming in the South West and its huge contributions to the country’s economy.
Oba Adedokun who commended the Federal and Osun State Governments for their bids to rejuvenate the economy through agriculture, noted that creating a renaissance in the cocoa industry and building bridges between production and consumption would help achieve sustainable development and also improve the tourism sector in the state.
He called on stakeholders to support the government in adding value to agriculture, with a view to boosting production of agricultural produce to enable it compete in the international markets.
The monarch stressed that such synergy would help create opportunities in the areas of education, retail and hospitality business, employment as well as technology development.
The Chairman of Osun Produce Board (OPB), Dr. Yemi Adegoke, also stressed the need to revitalize cocoa production which would help boost the economy of the country and create wealth .
Adegoke said that cocoa had been the major cash crop used in boosting the country’s economy and development even before the inception of crude oil in the 1970.
He called on stakeholders to rally round the government in order to boast the agriculture sector and cocoa production.
Chairman of O’ Reap in Osun, Dr Charles Akinola, also urged cocoa partners , famers , and international marketers to intensify efforts in adding value to cocoa through adequate production and marketing of the product in order to maximise its potentialities for sustainabilty and economic development.