Cocoa farmers in the country have alleged the supply of ‘fake’ farm inputs by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The farmers, under the umbrella of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), said most of the inputs they have been using of recent were fake and badly affecting the farming of the produce.
Addressing journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital recently, the National President of (CFAN), Chief Raimi Adeniji and the National Secretary, Mr Adeola Adegoke, said unless some of the issues relating to the sub-standard and fake inputs which caused low production are addressed by the Federal Government, the industry will remain stagnant.
“We want Mr President and the honourable minister of Agriculture to realize that in spite of our numerous complaints, the ministry still went ahead to award fresh contracts to those who supplied the earlier unwanted, fake and substandard inputs like jute bags, Solo pumps, fungicide (champ dp) and cutlasses among others.”
Speaking exclusively with one of our reporters on phone on Tuesday, the National Secretary of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Adeola Adegoke, alleged that those hired by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to supply the cocoa inputs to farmers came up with substandard ones contrary to what they requested for.
He listed some of the affected inputs to include jute bags, solo sprayers, pumps, fungicides and insecticides, citing the jute bags supplied to be too small for bagging the cocoa pods.
“We rejected them because we cannot buy what will be wasteful to us. These bags are wasting where they keep them now,’’ he said.
He also said that the solo-sprayers supplied were inferior to the British-made ones they requested for, adding that the few ones they collected as samples have started developing faults.
He said if the ministry failed to consult the real farmers before contracting the supply of the inputs, it will continue to have negative impact on cocoa production.
Daily Trust learnt that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, is aware of the allegations and had reportedly pledged to meet with those affected and find out the source supply.
But this, the leaders of the cocoa farmers said, is yet to happen.
When contacted, Dr Amin Babandi, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, advised aggrieved parties to channel to the ministry for proper action.
“They might have gotten their own materials from different sources so it doesn’t mean that it must be from the ministry, but if they have complaint they should come to the ministry and launch the complaint properly. It will be investigated and if there is anything we establish, then we find a remedy to it,” he said.
However, the national president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Sayina R Riman, the umbrella body for Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, said they have not received any input from the FG of recent, hence he could not substantiate the claims by some of the farmers.