Posted by Damisi Ojo | 28 November 2017 | 1,500 times
Cocoa farmers yesterday raised the alarm over alleged procurement of ‘fake ‘chemicals and other inputs for its members by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The inputs, particularly fungicides, according to Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), have destroyed several cocoa trees and farms.
The farmers want President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly address the issue which they say is a deliberate attempt by Federal Ministry of Agriculture officials, Abuja at sabotaging his efforts at rejuvenating cocoa production in the country.
Its National Vice President (Southwest), Ayodele Joseph, who spoke with reporters in Akure, Ondo State capital, lamented that the farmers had approached the Ministry officials on the need to be consulted whenever critical issues relating to the procurement of inputs were to be discussed in order to make contribution.
He said: “We want Buhari to know that most of the inputs procured in the past like jute bags, solo sprayer, pumps, fungicides and insecticides were rejected by cocoa farmers due to its low standard.
“The farmers that used part of it regretted their action later because of their negative impacts on their cocoa farms.”
CFAN lamented that cocoa that used to be the mainstay of the economy, particularly in the defunct Western Region had been relegated to the background due to the ‘unpatriotic’ actions of those saddled with the responsibility of promoting cocoa production.
CFAN said its members had earlier written to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when President Buhari was away in London, stressing that the VP forwarded the letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, but lamented that there was no response.
Besides, CFAN said several letters had been written to Ogbe on the issue without any action.
The group urged the Federal Government to stop ongoing procurement of cocoa inputs at the Ministry, until consultations were made with them as representatives of the peasant cocoa farmers in the country to avoid friction.
CFAN said there was the need to save cocoa farmers from untimely deaths due to havoc allegedly caused by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, stressing that they depended solely on cocoa as their source of income and country’s foreign exchange earnings. (The Nation)
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