Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has decried the alarming rate of losses occasioned by the alleged supply of ‘fake’ chemicals and other inputs to their members for the 2017 planting season.
National Vice Chairman of the association, Mr Ayodele Joseph, said this while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
He sought the urgent intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to avert what he described as economic sabotage allegedly perpetrated by some officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the supply of inputs to farmers.
He said the procured inputs are fungicides which farmers across the country said had destroyed their cocoa trees and farms.
Mr Joseph said they had earlier appealed to the Ministry on the need to carry CFAN along whenever critical issues relating to the procurement of inputs were being discussed to enable them to list their demands for the year.
“We want President Buhari to know that most of the inputs procured in the past like jute bags, solo sprayer, pumps, fungicides, and insecticides were rejected by cocoa farmers due to its low standard.
“Those farmers that used part of it regretted their action later because of the negative impacts on their cocoa farms,” he said.
The association also lamented that cocoa that used to be the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, particularly in the old western region had been relegated to the background due to the ‘unpatriotic’ nature of those saddled with the responsibility of promoting the cash crop.
They said they had called the attention of the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, stressing that the letter was forwarded to the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, after which there was no response on the matter.
Joseph also alleged that several letters were written to the minister on the issue without any positive action on the matter.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to stop the procurement of cocoa inputs at the ministry until consultations were made with them as representatives of the peasant cocoa farmers in the country to avoid further loss.