Dr Ezra Yakusak, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has confirmed the commencement of distribution of improved cocoa seedlings and agricultural inputs to farmers in Cross River.
Yakusak made the disclosure on Friday at a workshop to expose farmers to modern procedures in cocoa cultivation at Ikom, in Ikom Local Government Area of the state.
He was represented by Mr Osas Omorogbe, Trade Promotion Officer, Calabar Area Office of the NEPC.
Yakusak said that the gesture was part of deliberate measures aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s exports to global market with a view to boosting foreign earnings.
Yakusak said that the items would guarantee high yield for optimum returns, while bolstering supplies to meet the prevailing high demand for Nigerian cocoa from the global market.
He said that the initiative was a new milestone in the agency’s quest for effective synergy with key stakeholders to accelerate Nigeria’s export drive.
He said: “This is a new dimension to our collective quest in exploring viable options for advancing our export market.
“Our local farming method can no longer sustain our drive to meet global demand for cocoa which is one of our major export commodity.
“The distribution of the improved cocoa seedlings was a fallout from our collaboration with Cocoa Research Institute and other major players in the sector to revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria.
“With new dynamics in technology , Nigeria can not afford to depend entirely on oil as the only source of foreign earnings, our agricultural sector is a gold mine waiting to be explored,” Yakusak said.
He said that Cross River was chosen for the inaugural phase in view of the strategic status of the state as a leading cocoa producing state with unique geographical gateway for export.
The Chairman of Cross River chapter of Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Ejoh Achu, commended the initiative, addin that the development would upgrade production and the capacity of the farmers.
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