By Benson Ezugwu
Cross River has raised six million improved variety of cocoa seedlings to boost its production capacity.
Mr Oscar Ofuka, the Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development and Control, announced this during his chieftaincy conferment ceremony in Cross River.
He was conferred with a chieftaincy title of Ntuiri Eji 1 of Ejagam Kingdom, Efun Efun Afon Ndume-Nne meaning, the hero of development by the Etung Traditional Council.
According to him, the conferment of the title on him as a testament of his effort to develop Cocoa across the state.
Ofuka said with the six million improved variety Cocoa seedlings, the stage was set for the state to reclaim its rightful position as number one Cocoa producing state in the country.
“This is what our governor has mandated us to do, to return Cross River to the position of number one cocoa producing state and to ensure that cocoa remained the mainstay of our economy.
“As for my chieftaincy title, I thank the governor for giving me the opportunity to serve and my people, the Etung Traditional Council as well as my own Local Government for the recognition.
‘I promise that I will continue to do my best in the development of the state,” he said.
‘Because, by the time we are through with what we are doing, Nigeria will overtake Cote d’Ivoire as the number one producer of Cocoa in Africa and the World, ” Ofuka said.
However, he said that for the state to achieve the Cocoa transformation, more people needed to return to its cultivation.
According to him, there is a need for more government investment in the Cocoa Value Chain if the state is ready to change the narrative of over-dependence on the monthly allocation from the Federation Account.