The Osun State government has approved a loan of N5 million to back 30 resident cocoa farmers, a measure in part to fulfill Gov. Adeboyega Oyetola’s campaign promises to support farmers and promote agriculture in the state.
At the soft loan distribution in Osogbo , Dayo Babaranti, general manager, of Osun Micro-Credit Agency, said the agency was determined to support the state’s economy and ready to revive micro-, small- and medium- scale enterprises.
He urged beneficiaries not to divert the funds but apply them to what they are meant for supporting their farming activities.He went on, adding that a similar gesture had recently been extended to cassava and tomato farmers in the state.
“We are here this morning to distribute N5 million loan to 30 individual cocoa farmers in the four major cocoa growing councils in the State, namely Ilesa-West, Ilesa-East, Atakunmosa-West and Atakumosa-East respectively.”
“This support is given to farmers for them to purchase chemicals and other things they need to spray and prevent cocoa from infections that usually reduce their productions ahead of this year’s harvest season,”. Babaranti said.
Cocoa is a profitable cash crop due to its economically diverse value chain products, as well as its international acceptance, and plays a major role in the economics of Osun state , being the third largest cocoa producer in Nigeria after Ondo and Oyo States.
The future of cocoa farming in Nigeria is dependent on a number of factors: the adoption of new technology, the implementation of improved plant varieties, the use of local manure, and the persistence of positive growing conditions, specifically nutrient- rich soil, good shade and an absence of pests.
Chairman, Ajibade Moshood of Agbewumi Cocoa Group, assuring the government a timely loan repayment on behalf of others in Cocoa , maintained: “We shall use the fund for the purpose it was meant for.”