The Executive Director/ Chief of Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo has said the council was poised to improve the quality of cocoa being produced in the country and make Nigeria the destination for the international market.
Awolowo who noted that the country can boost its economic development with quality produce made available in the international market said Nigeria was endowed with wide range of land for more cocoa cultivation.
He spoke at the weekend during a two-day training for cocoa farmers in Ikere-Ekiti and Ise-Ekiti of Ekiti State with the theme, ‘Best Agricultural Practices for Enhanced Produce and Quality of Cocoa Production for Export Market.’
Represented by the Trade Promotion Advisor, Andrew Okhiulu, Awolowo said the training for the farmers became necessary as parts of NEPC’s determination to ensure quality cocoa production and boost its demand in the international.
According to him, “The NEPC as a creation of the federal government is poised to see to the improved quality of our products earmarked for export not only for the benefit of the farmers but also to boost the economy of the country and trying to achieve the objective of making Nigeria a destination for quality produce demand.
“All will need to do to enhance the quality of our cocoa is to cultivate improved varieties, focus more on organic production and improve on the post-harvest handling.”
Speaking, permanent secretary of Ekiti state ministry of trade and industry, Mr Ayodele Adeyanju while commending NEPC for the training said the need for quality cocoa production and standardization cannot be over-emphasized considering the demand in the international market.
On his part, the state chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Alagbada Ademola identified one of the challenges of most farmers in the international market as rejection of their produce due to the level of quality, saying the training would help them in no small measure towards having enhanced cocoa production for export.