Cocoa

Cocoa farmers in Uhonmora-Ora in Owan West Local Government of Edo have decried the increasing drop in production of the commodity in the area, attributing it to lack of government support.

The farmers, who spoke at Uhonmora-Ora, said they lacked funds and the necessary inputs to expand their farms and improve on quality of the commodity.

They said the relevant authorities should provide credit facilities and materials for ?our specialised kind of farming? to boost cocoa production in the area.

One of the farmers, Benjamin Imonah, recalled that some pest attacked their farms in 2012, adding that the adverse effect of the incident on cocoa production in the area was still lingering.

“Since the invasion of our farms by the pests and our appeal for assistance, no individual, group or government has supported us. This is quite unfortunate and if the trend continues, Edo and the country in general, should expect further decline in cocoa production.??

He claimed that Owan West Local Government Area is the largest growers of cocoa in the state and urged the state government to take urgent measures to help the farmers to avert further decline in cocoa production.

Another farmer, Omo Ojeikere, said farmers spent a lot of money on fumigation after the attack, and called on government to provide soft loans to the farmers.

On the extent of devastation caused by the pest invasion, Ojeikere said: “As I speak now, some farmers who used to harvest 10 bags in one plucking now find it difficult to get five bags. “In addition to finance, the government should assist us with high-yield seedlings to boost our production. We will not mind if the seedlings are sold to us.??

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