Ayade seeks increased cocoa production to enhance revenue 

Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River says increased production of cocoa will improve revenue generation in the country.

Ayade stated this on Wednesday at the inauguration of Cocoa House in Ikom, the commercial city of the state.

Represented by Mr Alphonsu Ogar, State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Ayade said that Nigeria needed to seek alternative sources of revenue.

He said that with the dwindling fortune of crude oil, cocoa was an available revenue lifeline for the nation

The governor stated that agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery and exploration of oil.

”We are aware that the agriculture sector can strongly support the economy, that is the reason the governnment is investing in cocoa production.

“The inauguration of the Cocoa House is a testimony of our belief in the economic power of agriculture,” he said.

In his remark, Mr Ejor Obi, Chairman, Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Cross River, expressed the association’s commitment to support increased cocoa production in the state.

“We shall support efforts to improve the local cocoa production in the state. We are aware of its economic value and benefits,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Godwin Okwu, CAN Zonal Vice President for Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, described the Cocoa House as a good initiative.

He said that the facility will provide a world-class hospitality for extra-ordinary calibre of visitors to the state.

“It is actually a first step in the package we are offering to investors first, and the general public.

“It provides seamless blend of tourism and business in the best exquisite way possible,” he said.

Okwu further said that the cocoa economy was currently operating at less than 40 per cent capacity at farm level in the state

“It is operating at less than 50 per cent in marketing and 0 percent in manufacturing level,” he said

He said that Cross River cocoa economy had the potential to sustain the state’s economy if well-tapped into.

The zonal vice president urged the state government to provide 20 hectares of land to enable the association raise a cocoa a seed garden and a demonstration farm.

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