Broke Osun returns to Cocoa for revenue

Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State
Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State

Revenues from cocoa and other prominent farm produce in which Osun has comparative advantage have great capacities to turn around the economy and fortunes of the state if pursued with renewed vigour.

The Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, who stated this assured that his administration will leave no stone unturned to make the state great again, hence the recent investment and research into cocoa production and the focus on other areas of agriculture.

The governor stated that for the state to start on a good footing at producing ‘Cocoa Omoluabi’, the state has enumerated and identified 60 million active cocoa trees in the state.

Mr. Aregbesola, while meeting with cocoa produce merchants in the state at the Government House Banquet Hall in Osogbo, stated that with new cocoa development initiatives in the state, there will be a new cash inflow making the economy of the state prosperous.

He stated that the state has also gone further in her bid to boost cocoa production and agriculture with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, on the development of agriculture and production of massive food production as alternative to reliance on oil.

The agreement according to Mr. Aregbesola involved releasing of 204.39 hectares of land in Ago Owu Farm Settlement to IITA for the purpose of conducting research and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices.

IITA will also carry out cassava, plantain and other crops multiplication including cocoa as well as train the youth in the state in modern, commercial and profitable farming.

Mr. Aregbesola emphasised that in her bid to increase Internally Generated Revenue in Osun, government will establish commodity board that will be supervised directly by the office of the governor to ensure that Osun ranks among the best cocoa producers in Nigeria within the next two years.

He told the produce merchants that the economic situation of the state has been badly affected with the pillaging of the national treasury by the previous administration.

Mr. Aregbesola added that 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 noted that the state will soon bounce back‎ with the identification of sixty million cocoa trees presently in the state, adding that government henceforth will criminalise any action of farmers and merchants that runs foul of government laws on cocoa.

He pointed out that government will soon be registering all farmers in the state for easy implementation of government policies on agriculture thus giving adequate room for monitoring and giving the necessary support for farmers.

According to him, “to show the people of the state 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. 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.

Mr. Aregbesola hinted that produce tribunals will be set up across the state and that special colour will be given to vehicles that will be transporting cocoa within the state.

The governor added that the State Executive Council meetings will be held in rural areas where cocoa farming is thriving in the state for about six months to one year after the formation of his cabinet.

Earlier, the Chairman of All farmers Association of Osun, 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 it with the neglect of cocoa which he said was the back bone of the economy in the 60s, identifying the cancellation of cocoa and marketing board by the then military government as a setback for the industry in Nigeria.

Mr. Adeniji commended government for introducing E-payment, adding that government should ensure and maintain that Osun cocoa should not go out of the state.

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  • Romberg

    Is he just finding out about cocoa right now? He wants to establish a research farm, then get result (as a leading cocoa producer in Nigeria) within two years. A pig can’t change its spots. This government of impunity and recklessness knows nothing about planning… They are only after results that will not come. Instead of counting trees, why not count the farmers, the buyers (and their ages) first? Instead of counting your eggs before they are laid, why not educate the nation of your plan to make the cocoa farming profitable. The farmers will produce and find that the price of cocoa is stone dead. When the market is ready, they find that your cocoa board has no legislative backing. When the backing finally arrives, you will find the youth prefer to stay in the city without jobs than to go to farm like their forefathers – even their fathers won’t agree to a policy that forces their wards to farm it because Osun wants money and not the satisfaction and fulfilment of its citizens. The solution? Don’t be too ambitious about infantile programs. Carry the people along. Feel their pulse, they cannot all be fools. They know what is good for themselves.

    • Igwe

      Your comments seem like the musings of a mad man!
      You make absolutely zero sense and you should probably be muted until you regain the use of your mental faculties.

  • Charlie

    Commodity boards will only make the bureaucrats running them rich at the expense of the farmers. That was why they were cancelled in the first place. When a body is the only buyer of a commodity below market price, the managers of such bodies usually underreport what they buy because they buy more for themselves and sell at market price and make great profits for their own pockets. That was why cocoa production progressively kept going down year to year (except under Awolowo) until Babangida abolished all marketing boards. If Aregbesola is not careful, he will force farmers of Osun state to revive Agbekoya to fight his government. It is one thing to mismanage or steal oil money allocated to the state, it another thing to confiscate and misappropriate money from people’s sweat.

    • kingbaabu

      Well said.

  • яεsιsτεя

    So, as the world, especially the former Asian Tigers, step into digital world, human resources, manufacturing Automobiles, Computers, Aircraft, Satellites, Protocols, Big Data, Mobile and Digital products, making huge strides in innovation, Nigeria wants to return to producing cassava, and cocoa, perhaps groundnuts? That’s Peanuts!

    Which way, Nigeria?

    Unleash the genius within us, we’ve got it, stop discriminating our fellow citizens, treat every section of the country equally, respect women, respect the minorities, the Igbos, the Yorubas, the Hausas, the Fulanis, and so on…

    Do away with parochial titles, and the old guard; leap into the 21st century. Treat education with the utmost regard. Abandon old soldiers and generals; respect and pay teachers well! Support the young and pupils, spend the money required! Court and entice Nigerian Diaspora to come home with their expertise! Provide security, and value human life! Attract investors! Make Nigeria beautiful, stop all the violence, clean our image, and engage in merit! And watch Nigeria soar.

    • walter enang

      Only Fiscal Federalism can free us from aboki brain.

      • Artful ºDodger

        Na dat one hold your brains? Nonsense!

  • walter enang

    Aboki is waiting for crude oil money from the SS. Aboki should implement the recommendations of the National Conference so that our creative geniuses can be released for the betterment of the country. Instead a few greedy and wicked people are still hanging on to the old Ways in order to drink up the crude oil while majority of other Nigerians suffer.

  • Analyst

    You have a better environment to run to for cocoa but you have all spoilt our environment in Niger Delta and now we have no place to sow seed of cocoa if we wish to move likewise. Would federal government claim the owner of cocoa when you are harvesting them?

  • Artful ºDodger

    Load of crap without really saying anything as usual. Which of the cocoa re you hoping to make money from, the ones produced by the private sector? If you are a wise governor, in collaboration with IITA, is it not time you engineer rapid growing and high yielding disease resistant seedlings, set up state owned farms across the state, a processing plant to process the cocoa before exporting the pods? This is the only way i see the state can make money meaningfully from cocoa and not by taxation or buying the produce from farmers at subsidized rates. You people keep going over the same stories again and again as if the talking is all it will take to turn your fortunes around.

  • john ahmed

    pls return 60m dollars to osun state that you stole

  • Fuzio

    Nobody is talking about restoring the famed Kano Groundnut Pyramids. They are so addicted to free oil money that a mere mention of this is akin to heresy to the feudalists that run things up there.

    • kingbaabu

      They are still up. Nigeria, it will surprise you to know, is the 3rd largest producer of peanuts in the world. Industry in the north never died. Oil was just way more valuable than everything else.

      • Fuzio

        It made us lazy and killed everything else. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Our governments can no longer pay salaries because Oil revenues are not flowing as usual. It is time to restructure the country so that the federating units can concentrate on what they can do best and harness the resources that are abundant in their domain to develop their areas as the country did before 1966.

        • kingbaabu

          I agree. I guess my point is the same as yours. It is no longer the 1960s where selling cash crops earns you enough foreign exchange to sustain a nation. We have to create the capacity to get Nigerians involved in other areas of the agricultural value chain other than planting, harvesting and bagging crop for export.

  • Rommel

    This is more like it,nothing apart from greed and laziness has stopped states from waking up and doing the things they claimed will happen when they were asking to be created,this loss of oil revenue could be a blessing for those that wish to survive but for the lazy ones,it has already provided excuse for failure