IN the bid to increase internally generated revenue in the state, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Sun State has hinted of the coming Commodity Board that would ensure that Osun ranks among the best cocoa producers in Nigeria within the next two years.
Aregbesola said that the board would be under direct supervision of his office.
The governor, while meeting with produce merchants in the state at the Government House Banquet Hall in Osogbo Tuesday evening, January 26, stated that with the new cocoa development initiatives in the state, fresh revenues would be available to make the economy of the state prosperous in 2016.
He told the produce merchants that the economic situation of the state had been badly affected with the pillaging of the national treasury by the previous administration.
Aregbesola added that the situation with the drop in oil prices and the sharp reduction in the federation accounts from N1.2 trillion in 2012 to N369 billion in November allocations shared in December 2015 reduced the running of government to little or nothing hence, the need to look inward in increasing IGR.
The governor noted that the state would soon bounce back with the identification of sixty million cocoa trees presently in the state, adding that government henceforth would criminalise any action of farmers and merchants that runs foul of government laws on cocoa.
He pointed out that government would soon be registering all farmers in the state for easy implementation of government policies on agriculture thus, giving adequate room for monitoring and giving the necessary support for farmers.
“Our bags of cocoa in Osun will be branded with this; government will be able to ensure that the quality of cocoa coming out of the state meets international quality standards. When there was free money coming from oil, no government was looking at what cocoa could bring to the economy; we are back to the days where cocoa will be the main stay of our economy in Osun,” the governor said.
Aregbesola hinted that produce tribunals would be set up across the state and that special colour would be given to vehicles transporting cocoa within the state.
The governor reminded produce merchants of the immense wealth that cocoa alone brought to the Western Region and the good use to which the revenues were put by the then governments.
The governor added that the state executive council meetings would be held in rural areas where cocoa farming is thriving in the state for about six months to one year after the formation of his cabinet.
Earlier, Raheem Adeniji, chairman of the All Farmers Association of Osun, said that the association was ready to partner and cooperate with government in its bid to revamp the cocoa farming in the state.
He lamented the poor economic state the country had found itself with the neglect of cocoa which was the backbone of the economy in the 60s.
He identified the cancellation of Cocoa and Marketing Board by the then military government as a setback for the industry in Nigeria.
— Jan 28, 2016 @ 17:20 GMT