Monday, July 26, 2010

President Goodluck Jonathan says government to boost cocoa production

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said his administration has concluded arrangements to boost the nation's economy and increase the GDP through cocoa production.

Towards this end, he said a committee on cocoa production and processing has been set up and given six weeks ultimatum to submit its report which he assured would be speedily implemented.

Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said this at the closing ceremony of the 6th National Cocoa Day celebrations organised for the 14- cocoa producing states in the country held at the Township Square Ilorin, Kwara State.

He said the committee comprises of the ministries of finance and agriculture and rural development; the Centra Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, among others .

The president also pledge that facilities that will assist farmers in cocoa production will be provided for them so that they will take it with all the seriousness it deserves and help the Federal Government to fulfill its objectives.

In his address, the minister of agriculture and rural development, Professor Sheik Abdullah, said the theme of the 6th National Cocoa Day, "Quality Cocoa for National Development," is well chosen to reflect the importance Nigeria attaches to cocoa production.

Earlier in his address, the governor of Kwara State, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, commended the Federal Government for supporting the programme to be held in Ilorin, noting that with the three-day programme, the glory of cocoa production is being re-kindled for better development of the agricultural sector.

Meanwhile, Cocoa producing states in the country have attributed incessant power outage as the major reason they have not been able to build any cocoa processing factory despite the abundance of cocoa in the country.

They said until the problem of power generation was tackled by the federal government, it would be difficult for any state to contemplate such venture.

Speaking with newsmen in Akure ahead of the Cocoa Day celebrations, Ondo State Deputy Governor Alhaji Ali Olanusi regretted that many of the industries established in the sector were no more in operation, while those operating were doing so at a minimal capacity.


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