Mr. Moses Oladipupo, Chairman of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Osun chapter, has decried the poor yield of cocoa in the state, attributing it to bad weather.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo on Saturday, Oladipupo said only 30 per cent of expected cocoa production was achieved by farmers in the state in 2017.
He indicated that the inadequate support of government was responsible for the downturn, adding that farmers have had to struggle on their own.
“We faced the challenges of unfavourable weather, fake chemicals sold in the market, and lack of funds and financial support from the government,” he said.
“Majority of our farmers lack funds and as such could not pay labourers employed to work on their farms…
“In fact, we [have] had a lot of our members arrested because they were reported to the police for not paying the labourers they employed.
“It is not entirely the fault of farmers not being able to pay their employed labour, but what they get from their harvest is not up to what they have invested on production.” he stated.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture have provided chemicals to cocoa farmers at 50 per cent subsidy rate, yet, Oladipupo said, farmers need further support and assistance.
He said farmers in the state were not really feeling government’s impact on agricultural programmes and policies because the states governments that were supposed to be implementing them were not doing so.
And although government production target was 300,000 metric tons for the year, actual yield has been less than 200,000 metric tons, according to him.
Oladipupo called for greater commitment from the government, to support farmers in training, funding as well as providing extension workers to assist and monitor farm operations.
According to him, if government would provide tools and materials cocoa farmers need to operate, it will incentivize production and cultivation of cocoa on a large scale.