By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The dwindling of quality cocoa produced in Cross River State has been described has a sign of doom in Cocoa production if nothing drastically is done to correct it.
The remark was made by the managing director of Tulip Cocoa processing limited, Mr. Simon Conway Jarrett, while speaking at the 27th premium party for cocoa farmers, factors as well as local buying agents in Ikom local government.
He attributed the dwindling quality of cocoa from the state to the neglect of some farmers to adhere to the best farming techniques.
He said that Tulip Cocoa Processing Limited is an icon agro-industrial company with vast experience in procurement of cocoa in Nigeria and has been working with rural farmers, factors and local buying agents since 2007.
According to him, the company which has a factory in Ogun state has been working assiduously to improve the income and livelihood of Nigerian cocoa farmers, adding that “farmers with the programme are well trained on the management of cocoa farms”.
He lamented that most product were not properly treated as the moisture level was high, dusty, stony as well as other strange materials.
He used the forum to encourage farmers to increase high quality cocoa production.
The attainment of the feat of producing high quality , he stated will be predicated on training and the practice of the best farming techniques.
Jarrett who lauded Syngenta, a cocoa chemical producing company for sustaining interest in producing chemicals for the improvement of cocoa production and for selling them to farmers at affordable rates, urged the farmers not to hesitate to appropriately apply the chemicals on their farms.
In his remarks, the sustainbility manager of Tulip Cocoa processing limited in Ikom, Mr. Ali Zulfaquar, disclosed that the premium to farmers had dropped drastically in the twenty-seven production because of the low quality of cocoa and called for an aggressive approach towards improving the quality.
He said that though the quantity of cocoa for last year was as high as nine thousand, three hundred tons, the premium did not reflect the volume because of the low quantity.
Zulfaquar advised that the right chemicals should be used in their farms while appropriate pruning and slashing should be done according to best practices.
Also speaking, cocoa merchant in the state, Mr. Godwin Ukwu, commended the management of Tulip for encouraging quality cocoa production in Cross River state about ten years ago and called for sustenance.
In an interview, a cocoa farmer, Mr. Tanghan Tiku, said that he was overwhelmed by the faithfulness of Tulip cocoa processing limited who have maintained its partnership with cocoa farmers in the state for over ten years.
According to him, the partnership has helped farmers to increase their production of both the quantity and quality of cocoa beans.
Augustine Njork also said that the interaction has exposed a lot of them to facts about quality cocoa production which they had ignored in the past.
The ceremony featured presentation of certificate and prizes to deserving persons in the cocoa chain industry as well as interactions.