The Cross River State Government says it has raised six million improved cocoa seedlings to boost the state’s cocoa production capacity.
Mr Oscar Ofuka, the Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and Control, said this on Sunday in Bendeghe, Etung Local Government Area of the state.
He spoke when he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of “Ntuiri Eji 1 of Ejagam Kingdom, Efun Efun Afon Ndume-Nne” (Hero of Development) by the Etung Traditional Council.
Ofuka said that with the provision of the six million improved cocoa seedlings, the state would be primed to reclaim its rightful position as the foremost cocoa producing state in the country.
“This is what our governor has mandated us to do: To return Cross River to the position of number one cocoa producing state and to ensure that cocoa remains the mainstay of our economy,” he said.
The special adviser said that the whole country would in the long run benefit from the cocoa revolution going on in the state.
“I say this because, by the time we are through with what we are doing, Nigeria will overtake Cote d’Ivoire as the number one producer of cocoa in Africa and the world,” he said.
Ofuka, however, underscored the need for the people to return to cocoa cultivation so as to enable the state to achieve the goals of its cocoa transformation initiative.
He also stressed the need for increased government investment in the cocoa value chain if the state was determined to change the narratives of over its sole dependence on monthly allocations from the Federation Account.
He thanked the Etung Traditional Council and the entire community for bestowing the chieftaincy title on him.
“As for my chieftaincy title, I thank the governor for giving me the opportunity to serve; I also thank my people, the Etung Traditional Council as well as my own local government area for the recognition.
“I promise that I will continue to do my best in the development of the state,” he added.