Eti-Oni: Giant strides for cocoa production, as community launches cooperative society
Following the success of the celebration of its 2016 Cocoa Festival, which saw the marking of Eti-Oni’s 120th year of cocoa farming, at a meeting held at the Oloni’s palace, at Gureje Square, Eti-Oni, Osun State, the Eti-Oni Cooperative Society was launched.
According to the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Oba Dokun Thompson, the meeting was held to ensure that the gains of the 2016 Cocoa festival were put into action and realised as the prerequisite to achieving the long term overall objective of the Eti-Oni Development Group (EDG) which is the renaissance of the community’s age long cocoa production as a catalyst for the nation’s agricultural drive as a whole.
Oba Thompson thanked Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State for the state’s efforts during the festival particularly in the areas of the farmers’ training and restated the commitment of the community to reaping the benefits of the proposed farmer’s field school which would be situated in Gureje Cocoa Farms, Eti-Oni.
The monarch also reiterated efforts taken to ensure that Eti-Oni had a very active and thriving Cooperative Society hence, the presence of the President of the Cooperatives Financing Agency of Nigeria in the meeting to speak to the farmers on the benefit of forming and being part of a cooperative society, as well as further partnership with Fidelity Bank, so the community could fully benefit from their expertise in financing of agricultural projects to achieve the EDG’s vision of building a model smart town.
Mr Femi Komolafe, who represented the Director General, Office of Economic Development and Partnerships, spoke on behalf of the governor. He congratulated the community for the successful outcome of the Cocoa Festival and stated that plans to commence the establishment of a Farmer’s Field School would begin at the end of January 2017. This would also be followed by the establishment of a multiplication centre to promote the farming and production of cocoa.
A Planning Officer at the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships, Mr Isaiah Adedokun, noted that the Farmers Field School was for a maximum of 30 farmers for each session to achieve optimum participation. He also urged farmers to take advantage of the Farmer’s Business School, which is a complimentary programme of GIZ of Germany and an extension of the farmers’ field school.
He stated that farmers needed to understand how basic accounts were done so they could avoid debt, especially after harvest boom. He advised that the organising of the farmers for training can best be achieved if there was a cooperative society.
The President of the Cooperatives Financing Agency of Nigeria, Bashorun Bola Orolugbagbe, in his address, explained the structure and benefits of cooperative societies, the registration process and encouraged the farmers take part in the process.
Head of Export Desk of Fidelity Bank, Mr Isaiah Ndukwe, in his comments said he was impressed with what was going on at Eti-Oni, stating that the proposed cooperative structure would give the required force to achieve the laid-out objectives. He assured the Eti-Oni Community that the Fidelity advisory services was committed to participating in all of the activities to achieve the initiative’s objectives.
Oba Dokun Thompson launched the Eti-Oni Cooperative Society and after nominations and election, Ms Adaeze Ekwueme, CEO of Eti-Oni Development Group emerged as the President, while Chief Musibau Gbadamosi, the Odole Atobase of Eti-Oni was elected as the Vice President. Also elected were Mr Tunde Olowe, Secretary; Mrs Adenike Taiwo, Financial Secretary and Mr Adewusi Ogunniyi as the Treasurer.
The president of the newly-established Eti-Oni Cooperative Society thanked all the stakeholders for their support, stating that with the cooperative society in place, the community could take advantage of all the benefits to turn the dreams for Eti-Oni into reality.