Agric Ministry, CPFAN To Partner To Boost National GDP

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L-R: The national president, Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ayodele Ojo and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar when the former paid the minister a courtesy call at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed its readiness to support members of the Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria (CPFAN) to boost Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

This was revealed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar when he received members of the association led by its national president, Chief Ayodele Ojo, when they paid him a courtesy call at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja. He assured them that both bodies can collaborate in creating employment, food sufficiency, increase earnings for smallholder farmers and generation of income.

Abubakar stated that the agro-industry is experiencing a revitalisation with dedicated Federal Government policies towards encouraging smallholder farmers and investors as well as growing the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He pointed out that the cocoa sub-sector contributes to the GDP of Nigeria and should not be toyed with. He called for a full harnessing of the sub-sector to ensure that the agricultural base is established. 

Earlier, Ojo commended the ministry’s giant strides in empowering the grassroots farmers and the overall development of the agricultural sector.

He said that the nation is blessed with natural resources and vast agricultural potential, yet the resources are not optimally put to use and this has made the country produce far below agricultural capacity. 

According to him, cocoa and plantain have been major contributors to Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of oil in the early ‘60s. 

“Great feats were achieved under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the premier of the Western Region. Some of the then achievements were the construction of a 26-storey Cocoa House in Ibadan, the construction of the Liberty Stadium, amongst others,” he said.  

Ojo informed that it was disheartening that crude oil discovery led to the total neglect of the agricultural sector and decadence in the existing infrastructure and sustained lean budgetary provisions for agriculture development had made the enterprise to be backward, he added. 

He, however, pointed out that CPFAN was willing to be part of the solution to the many challenges being faced by agriculture in Nigeria by creating an enabling environment for all actors along the cocoa and plantain value chains to work together, complement each other and bring remarkable improvement in the sub-sector. 

The national president further suggested that the association solicits help from all relevant government agencies, philanthropists, stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to rally the needed support. 

A statement signed by Anthonia Eremah for the ministry’s director of information said the president implored the ministry to incorporate plantain into its anchor-borrower scheme and seek agricultural inputs such as agrochemicals, improved varieties of cocoa and plantain for planting and any other necessary agro-inputs.

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