Cocoa farmers, under the aegis of the National Association of Cocoa Farmers,have called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to, as a matter of urgency, wade into the issue of sub-standard cocoa input, allegedly being planned for procurement by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The association raised the alarm over the procurrement of sub-standard agricultural inputs for production of cocoa and said the procurement of these substandard input had been affecting production of cocoa every year, Financial Watch reports.
The association frowned at the attitude of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture of procuring inputs for cocoa without consulting the association, which can put the officials of the ministry on the right track.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting of its national executive council, the association called on Buhari to re-organise the procurement process of cocoa value chain, in order to give room for the contribution of the association.
The communique which was jointly signed by the National President of the association, Raimi Adeniyi, and other farmers representatives from all cocoa producing states, called for reversal of the system and called for the integration of the association into the system.
The association listed some of the sub-standard inputs allegedly planned to be procured by the ministry to include: solo sprayers, fungicides, jute bags, cutlasses, among others.
The communique read in part, “CFAN condemned the manners of procuring inputs for cocoa farmers of Nigeria without our contribution as the representatives of all the cocoa farmers in Nigeria.
“Almost a quarter of our cocoa plantations were destroyed by fire during last year dry season without any support from the Federal Government, in spite of our letter of complaint to the ministry.
“The low cocoa production recorded last year across the country could be linked to non-usage and unavailability of some cocoa inputs by the cocoa farmers due to fake inputs’ negative impact on the produce,” the communiqué read.
The association threatened to hold a mega protest across the cocoa producing states – including Abuja, if its recommendations were not considered by the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh.