About 100 farmers drawn across Bayelsa State are beneficiaries of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Cocoa seedlings to improve yields and production.
The Regional Coordinator, NEPC, South- South Regional Office, Port Harcourt, Mr. Joe Itah who presented the seedlings in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital said the gesture was aimed at reviving the once thriving cocoa plantations in Bayelsa.
Itah explained that with the global demand for cocoa and its derivatives on the rise, Nigeria’s cocoa farmers and entrepreneurs could work towards benefitting from the world’s cocoa processing market valued at over 12 point 4 billion dollars.
According to him NEPC decided to distribute the cocoa seedlings to farmers and organize workshops to revive the tree crop in Bayelsa State based on an export potential survey as part of the One State-One-Product growth pillar of the Federal Government’s Zero Oil Plan and the Economic Recovery and Growth plan.
He said the goal was to redirect the State’s economic energy towards resuscitation of the dwindling cocoa fortunes in the State, boost revenue and provide employment for the teeming populace.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, represented by a Staff in the Ministry, Mrs. Ebiye George urged beneficiaries to take advantage of the initiative to grow the cocoa business in Bayelsa.
Also speaking, Programme Manager of the Bayelsa State Agricultural Development Programme, Mr. Jackson Diegbegha urged youths to go into cocoa farming to improve their economic fortunes.
Mr. Abel Neki, Richardson Waridomigbomo, and Mrs. Oviemuteti Emmanuel speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation for the gesture, stating that it would help them grow their cocoa farms.