Over 100 smallholder farmers in Etung LGA of Cross River State have received hybrid cocoa seedlings and chemicals to help boost their yields.
The chairman of the LGA, John Nkom Etuk, made the presentation in the Etung Council Hall in Effraya.
The farmers expressed joy over the free chemicals and seedlings.
One of the farmers, Ntui Abang, who has a plantation, said the costs of chemicals and cocoa seeds have been prohibitive, such that many of them could not afford them.
“These seedlings and chemicals will tremendously enhance our plantations. By extension, I know that it will boost cumulative state production,” he said.
The paramount ruler of Etung Local Government, HRM Ntufam Anthony Ntui Etta, expressed gratitude to the chairman for his support of the development of cocoa farming in the LGA.
Speaking, Council Chairman Etuk said the donations were in line with his administration’s efforts to develop the agricultural sector, increase production, and encourage cocoa farmers.
He said the chemicals, major components in cocoa farming, are meant to provide protection against diseases as the hybrid cocoa approaches the production stage.
He said: “Etung is known for cocoa, and my administration will continue contributing meaningfully to increase production and productivity despite daunting challenges so as to move cocoa production to a desirable level and improve the livelihood of our cocoa farmers and other actors in the value chain.”
He maintained that cocoa is a significant economic crop that generates export revenues, income, and employment.
“Its ingredient is useful in the production of confectionery, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products. “Consequently, ensuring the sustainability of cocoa production is critical, particularly at a time when most young people do not consider farming, including cocoa farming, a viable business choice,” he said.