The Cross River Government has acquired 10,000 hectares of land across the state for the cultivation of Cocoa in the 2020\/2021 planting season. Dr Oscar Ofuka, Special Adviser to the Governor on Cocoa Development and Control, disclosed this on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar. Ofuka spoke in reaction to an award of honour given to him by the Shallom Ministry, Calabar, in recognition of his efforts at revamping the Cocoa industry in the state. He said that Gov Ben Ayade was committed to revitalising the ailing Cocoa industry in the state with a view to making it an alternative source of revenue. According to him, Cocoa is one of the cardinal points of the government\u2019s Agriculture Revolution programme. He commended the governor for foresight in making agriculture the mainstay of the state\u2019s economy, saying that the sector had been neglected for long. \u201cAgriculture has been neglected for too long. It is time Nigerians return to agriculture. \u201cOur youths, irrespective of sex or place of origin should return to agriculture rather than parade the streets in search of white-collar jobs that rarely exist. \u201cCocoa production is the new gold in Cross River, \u201d Ofuka said. He thanked the ministry for the award, saying that he was dedicating it to the governor as a mark of appreciation for his passion for\u00a0 Cocoa production. Ofuka urged residents of the state to support the state government by keying into Cocoa farming. \u201cLet us all work together so that we can take our pride of place as the highest Cocoa producing state in Nigeria,\u201d he said. Ofuka said that unless something would be done by the people of the state to boost cocoa production, the ultra-modern cocoa factory built by the present administration might be under utilised. He called on farmers in the state to embrace the cultivation of an improved variety of cocoa crop with a gestation period of 18 months rather than rely on the old breed. The special adviser said that\u00a0 all the Cross River Cocoa Estates which were in comatose had been revived particularly in Akim Osomba Community in Akamkpa\u00a0 Local Government Area where 3,800 hectares had been acquired by the government for cocoa cultivation. (NAN) HEADLINES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED FROM BRAND SPUR Nestl\u00e9 launches R&D Accelerator to drive innovation for dairy products and plant-based dairy alternatives Nestl\u00e9, today, inaugurated a new R&D\u00a0Accelerator to drive innovation and speed-to-market of sustainable dairy products, as well as plant-based dairy alternatives. AfCFTA to Expand Nigeria\u2019s Non-oil Exports The\u00a0African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)\u00a0is one major solution for the expansion of\u00a0non-oil exports\u00a0from Nigeria to foreign lands, the Federal Government stated on Sunday. GE and Niger Delta Power Holding Company Successfully Restore up to 360MW in Nigeria Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic GE, today, announced the successful rehabilitation of three 9E.03 gas turbines, at three Niger Delta Power Holding Company\u2019s (NDPHC) Power Plants in Calabar and Sapele, Nigeria. Tobacco responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease Every year, 1.9 million people die from\u00a0tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the\u00a0World Health Organization,\u00a0World Heart Federation\u00a0and the\u00a0University of Newcastle Australia\u00a0ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September. The OPEC Fund approves US$20m for SMEs in East Africa The\u00a0OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund)\u00a0has signed a US$20 million term loan in favor of East African Development Bank (EADB). EADB will use the loan to support small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and infrastructure projects in East Africa. Instant Payments Transaction Values to Reach $18 Trillion by 2025, as Europe Leads Innovation A new study from\u00a0Juniper Research\u00a0has found that the value of\u00a0instant payments, where transactions are completed within ten seconds, will reach $18 trillion in 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2020; a growth of over 500%. This represents 17% of all B2B and consumer digital money transfer and banking payments by value in 2025.