Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, has said that the state government plans to boost cocoa production in order to be recognized as the first cocoa-producing region in the country.
Currently, the state occupies the second position after Ondo on the list of major cocoa producers in Nigeria.
Esu said this on Monday at Ikom during a workshop organized for cocoa estate managers, farmers and agricultural officers.
He said that it was time the state returned to agriculture as an alternative source of income in view of the dwindling federal allocation.
He, therefore, enjoined all participants to take the workshop serious for the benefit of farmers and the state.
He said that the workshop, organized by the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of the participants for effective and safe use of agrochemicals in cocoa production.
Also, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Anthony Eneji, noted that cocoa production required professional skills for increased production.
According to him, the ministry, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, is poised to revolutionalize cocoa production in the state to meet the required international standard.
He identified the sustenance of effective management system for increased yield as the challenge of cocoa production.
Also speaking, Ogban Ekpe, Head of Administration, Ikom Local Government Council, explained that cocoa plays an important role in revenue generation and its attendant capacity for job creation.
Cocoa estate managers, cocoa farmers and agricultural officers from the 18 local government areas of the state are expected to attend the two-day workshop.
Other cocoa-producing states are Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ekiti, Delta, Osun and Oyo.