Osun proposes cocoa commodity board to shore up revenue

Yinka Salaam, Osogbo.

In a bid to increase the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, the the government of the South-Western State of Osun has hinted on setting up a Cocoa Commodity Board that will ensure that Osun ranks among the best producers of cocoa in Nigeria.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the board which will be under the direct supervision of his office would be inaugurated within the next two years.

To further encourage the farmers, he pledged that the Executive Council meetings, when formed, would be held in rural areas where cocoa farming thrives.

At a meeting with the Produce Merchants in the state the Governor said with the new cocoa development, fresh revenues would be available, thus making the economy of the state prosperous in 2016.

“To show the people that we are ready to face agriculture squarely in Osun, I am establishing a Commodity Board that will be supervised directly from the office of the governor.

“Our bags of cocoa in Osun will be branded. With this, government will be able to ensure that the quality of cocoa coming out of the state meets international quality standards.

“When there was free money coming from oil, no government was looking at what cocoa could bring to the economy; we are back to the days where cocoa will be the main stay of our economy in Osun,” the governor emphasised.

Adequate Monitoring

Aregbesola said the economy of the state is set to bounce back with the identification of Sixty million Cocoa trees presently in the state.

The Governor said registration of all farmers in the state- for easy implementation of government policies on agriculture will soon commence.

This he said will give room for adequate monitoring, just as it will enable necessary support of farmers from the government.

Aregbesola hinted that Produce Tribunals would also be set up across the state, warning that government will henceforth criminalise any farmer or merchant who runs afoul of laws on cocoa.

Governor Aregbesola reminded the produce merchants of the immense wealth that cocoa alone brought to the Western Region and the good use to which the revenues were put by the then governments.

He said the days of waiting on national cake from Abuja may not return soon.

“The situation with the drop in oil prices and the sharp reduction in the Federation Accounts from N1.2 trillion in 2012 to N369 billion in November allocations shared in December 2015 has reduced the running of government to little or nothing hence, the need to look inward in increasing IGR,”
the Governor said.

The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Osun, Chief Raheem Adeniji, stated that the association is ready to partner and cooperate with government in her bid to revamp the cocoa farming in the state.

He lamented the poor economic state the country has found itself with the neglect of cocoa which he said was the backbone of the economy in the 60s.

Chief Adeniji regretted the cancellation of Cocoa and Marketing Board by the then military government, describing it as a major setback for the cocoa industry in Nigeria.