The Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Associations of Nigeria (CPFAN) has alerted the federal government to a ravaging scourge of pests damaging crops in Ondo State.
During the inauguration of the association’s Ondo chapter, Oluronikise Ibidapo, the state chairman of the association, lamented that large swaths of cocoa beans and plantains had been destroyed by ants, affecting anticipated harvests.
He noted that the disastrous damage to the crops was made worse as a result of the lockdown pronounced by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus, since it prevented farmers from gaining access to their farms and controlling the pests in time.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting farmers, particularly through the provision of loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ibidapo appealed to the president to come now to their aid.
Most notably, he pled for chemicals, farm implements, and seedlings, as well as funds to cushion the effects of the pests invasion, noting that cocoa generates a significant amount of revenue for the nation.
The chairman also thanked Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for giving his support to farmers and urged him to the state governor to attend to the roads leading to their farmsteads.
He also requested the governor’s help in providing farmers with cocoa seedlings and plantain suckers during the planting season to ensure better production.
As a final petition ,he called on the minister of agriculture to make plantains part of the ministry’s major program, adding that more cocoa seedlings should be supplied in the next planting season, considering that the 66,000 seedlings furnished in the last planting season were not enough.
Ibidapo encouraged all cocoa and plantain farmers across the 18 local government areas of the state to join the association in their areas , so they can benefit from its several initiatives.