Governor Okezie Ikpeazu says his administration is committed to returning Abia to the glorious era of the late Michael Okpara days when Agriculture was the main stay of economy.
Governor Okezie who stated this at the Dr Michael Okpara Auditorium Umuahia while flagging off the 2022 Improved Cocoa seedlings and distribution of Cocoa Good Agricultural Practices Handbook said that the place of Agriculture to the growth of the economy can not be overemphasized.
The Governor represented by the deputy chief of staff office of the deputy Governor Sir Don Ubani said that Abia is proud to have made its mark in cocoa production as witnessed during the Premiership of late Dr Michael Okpara.
He noted that the Agricultural sector has the ability to provide employment to over 75% of the populace and urged Abia Cocoa farmers to put into good use the handbook on Cocoa production distributed to them free of charge at the event to increase their yield.
In his remarks, the commissioner for Agriculture Professor Ikechi Mgbeoji represented by the permanent Secretary of the Ministry Chief Okey Ihedioha said that the State ministry of Agriculture is poised to collaborating with cocoa farmers in the state in getting the best in terms of yield and profit, adding that Ikwuano and Bende LGAs are making the state proud in Cocoa production.
In an address the National President,Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) Comrade Adeola Adegoke represented by the National Secretary Chief Ngbeyak Leku said that the focus of the Association is to increase Nigerian Cocoa productivity and, quality assurance of Cocoa bean through the premium cocoa production, child labour eradication, responsible pesticides application among other issues.
He said that the launching of the distribution of Cocoa GAP Handbook across the entire Cocoa producing states including Abia State will mark Nigeria’s path to achieving one hundred percent premium cocoa production with five hundred thousand metric tonnes targets and sustainable practices in the cocoa supply chain in 2024.
In a welcome address, the desk Officer and Secretary Abia state Cocoa Transformation Committee Dr Ojo Uma Ojo noted that the state government has taken positive steps in repositioning cocoa production in the state, adding that the flag off of the new hybrid of Cocoa will enable Cocoa farmers to stop using and recycling old Cocoa varieties in their farms, pointing out that the improved seedlings have the advantage of high yield and minimal incidence of diseases and pest.