Tourists across the world have celebrated the first Cocoa Festival in Africa in Eti-Oni, the ancient town in Osun State, South West Nigeria.
Eti-Oni is believed to have pioneered the production of cocoa in Nigeria over 120 years ago.
Cocoa festival was set up to motivate cocoa farmers to step up their production.
The maiden edition of the festival which began on Sunday, last week came to a climax with a grand finale, this weekend.
The event, designed to train the cocoa farmers and sensitize them on modern technology in cocoa farming in order to spur production of high quality and maximum profit.
Speaking at the event, Governor Rauf Aregbesola restated his administration’s commitment to ensure welfare of farmers by providing social amenities in the rural areas across the state.
He expressed optimism that the festival would assist in charting a new course for cocoa production.
Aregbesola commended the traditional ruler of Eti-Oni, the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Oba Dokun Thompson for initiating the cocoa festival.
The governor said the festival has provided a veritable platform to bringing stakeholders in the cocoa business to share ideas on cocoa production and other aspects of agribusiness as a way out of the current economic recession.
“I urged other traditional rulers in the state to take a leaf out of Oloni of Eti-Oni by coming up with initiatives that would promote the agriculture potentials in their domains.
To achieve this objective, a Farmer Field School was organised at Eti-Oni in which experts from Osun State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security were taken to the cocoa farms to train the cocoa farmers on the best way to cultivate, harvest and market their cocoa,” he said.
In a chat with our correspondent, Oba Thompson said the cocoa festival became necessary to remind people of the huge benefits of cocoa in the South-West in the past and inspire the youths to pick interest in cocoa.
He stressed that the festival attracted tourists from different parts of the world because of the historical background of the Eti-Oni as the pioneer of cocoa production in Nigeria.
“It is also because of the significant roles played by our forefather, Gureje in the Kiriji/Ekiti Parapo war which terminated between Igbajo and Imesi-Ile in Osun State.The cocoa festival is also used to mark the 130 years of the signing of the treaty that brought the war to an end,” the monarch said.
Oba Thompson lauded Governor Aregbesola for the construction of Igangan/Eti-Oni Olopon road and the 9.8km kilometres road, leading to the centre of Eti-Oni for easy access into the community during and after the festival.