Dr Oscar Ofuka, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Cocoa development, has claimed that Nigeria’s Cocoa is more valuable than Crude oil and gold. He maintained that Cocoa can give Nigeria the actual economic benefit that can lead to real growth and development.
Dr Ofuka said this on Thursday, October 1, after conducting newsmen round a Cross River State model Cocoa farm at the premises of the State Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC) in Calabar.
He said, “Nigeria needs to go back to full-scale agriculture and revamp the cocoa industry to an enviable height. To surpass even countries like Ivory Coast. Our Cocoa is more valuable than Crude oil and gold. In fact, Cocoa is our gold and the quality of the products we have is one of the best in the world especially in Cross River. Ours is organic and purely natural. Many of the infrastructures that this country has were built even before we gained independence and not from oil money but from agriculture, and cocoa was a major source. A lot of things are not going well for Nigeria. Agriculture has been our mainstay before now and the advent of crude oil. Cocoa has been one of our major sources of income. We need to go back to what we did in the past.”
Dr Ofuka explained further, “If we go into cocoa production, half of our income will solve over 60 percent of Nigeria’s problems. Even the 14 trillion budget for 2021. We must de-emphasize the money coming from oil and lay more emphasis on Cocoa. Nigeria’s Cocoa has huge premiums and is highly valuable in the international market and we need to do everything possible to make sure we boost our production capacity and make a meaningful impact as it concerns export.”
Speaking further, he said governor Ben Ayade was a visionary for envisioning the dream of boosting the production capacity of Cocoa as well as constructing a world-class Cocoa production plant.
He added, “Cross River Cocoa is organic and can grow anywhere. As you have seen, this is Calabar, not Ikom LGA or Boki. Neither are we in Ondo state. We have proven that the quality of our Cocoa is high, and it can grow anywhere. We want Cross River to lead Ivory Coast on the world cocoa map by ensuring we also process what we plant.”