Preparatory to the yearly Cocoa Festival, operators have expressed optimism in addressing challenges affecting cocoa production and processing in the country.
Scheduled for November 28 through December 2, 2017, at Eti-Oni, Atakumosa East LGA of Osun State, five organizations have expressed their willingness to support the festival. Key focus of the Cocoa festival is to address value-chain production, sustainability, and others pertinent issues in the agricultural sector.
Five organizations have expressed their willingness to support the annual Eti-Oni Cocoa Festival. The five organizations are: Fidelity Bank Plc, MTNN, WACOT Ltd., Nigerian Bottling Company NBC, and Bayer Crop Science
Speaking at a pre-event press conference for Cocoa Festival 2017 in Lagos, which was attended by the representatives of the organisations, Kester Osai, representing MTNN said the company has been in the forefront of promoting the cultural heritage in the country and Cocoa Festival is one of the important festivals that needs to be supported because of its importance.
The AGM, Commodities of WACOT, Debajyoti Bhattacharyya, said as an agricultural input company, it is regretful that cocoa is not being processed in Nigeria, making the country to lose billions of naira in revenue. He, therefore, pledged WACOT’s commitment to supporting cocoa production revival in Nigeria.
Bhattacharyya said the company is working actively in the agricultural to empower farmers, women, and youths, working towards improving their socio-economic status.
Also speaking at the event, the Sales Manager, Bayer Crop Science, Adeyemo Adeyemi said it is the policy of the organization to add value to peoples’ lives and supporting an event like Cocoa Festival is another way of adding value to the lives of Nigerians.
The traditional ruler of Eti Oni, Oba Adedokun Thompson said the main objective of the Cocoa Festival is to create a renaissance in the cocoa industry and build bridges between production and consumption to achieve sustainability and through it, transform the rural community of Eti-Oni into a sustainable model smart town in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2030 SDGs).
“The 4th edition, Cocoa Festival 2017 with theme: ‘The royal origins and traditions of cocoa for sustainability, is geared to be even bigger and better than the previous years.
“The organisers have judiciously structured this edition to reflect the potential and proud heritage of one of Nigeria’s most culturally aware townships with the festival endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017,” Oba Thompson said.
While appreciating the support of the Osun State governor, Oba Thompson thanked other sponsors and partners including – The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria CRIN, The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, The Nigeria Export Import Bank NEXIM, The Nigeria Export Promotion Council NEPC, Chocoa Amsterdam, The Friends of Eti-Oni London, Cocoa Town Atlanta and AIDPOL Warsaw and CMB Building and Maintenance Company Limited Kachifo Books, Mechano Properties, DNL Construction Limited and a host of others.
The Cocoa Festival is an initiative of Eti-Oni Development Group (EDG), the community development organization based in the town of Eti-Oni, the birthplace of Cocoa in Nigeria and home to the country’s first cocoa plantation located in Atakumosa East Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria.
The traditional ruler of Eti Oni, Oba Adedokun Thompson, said, “The main objective of the Cocoa Festival is to create a renaissance in the cocoa industry and build bridges between production and consumption to achieve sustainability and through it, transform Eti-Oni into a sustainable model smart town in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2030 SDGs).”