The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has reiterated the promise of his administration to make the state, hub of Cocoa Production in West African sub-region.
Governor Akeredolu, who sought to partner the African Development Bank, AFDB to accelerate the development of cocoa production in the state, made the remark while addressing the management of the bank in his office in Akure.
The governor said the state needed interventions in some critical sectors to enable the state make direct impact in the lives and well-being of the citizenry.
While highlighting the agricultural potentials of the state, Arakunrin Akeredolu said the cocoa production capacity of the state informed the forthcoming visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Ondo State in July to flag-off the Cocoa Revolution Initiative of the Federal Government.
“The President will be here in July for the Cocoa Revolution Project, during which seedlings will be distributed to cocoa farmers. He has insisted the revolution starts with Ondo State.
“We already have a lot of seedlings for which we have cleared several hectares of land. As we speak, we have about 24,000 hectares of land ready for this,” he said.
The governor regretted that Nigeria had fallen short of its cocoa production capacity, thereby allowing countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast overtake the country in the production of cocoa.
He, therefore appealed to the AFDB for assistance to resuscitate the abundant agricultural potentials of the state which, he said made it the leader in cocoa production in the country.
Governor Akeredolu also pleaded with the AFDB to assist the state to complete other projects, including water, electricity and entrepreneurship.
Earlier, the leader of the team, a Senior Director of AFDP, Mr Ebrima Faal, acknowledged the visit of Governor Akeredolu to the Country Field Office in Abuja last year and explained that the team was in the state to engage officials of government in order to see completed and ongoing projects for areas of effective collaboration.
“We need to see projects that we can talk about in clear terms, projects to be passed and developed within the Medium Term and Longer Term Frameworks.
“Gender and Vocational Training are some areas that the bank put a lot of investments on because an investment in human capital for us is key and investment in our gender program is actually quite substantial,” he said.
The Wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde and some members of the State Executive Council joined the State Governor to receive the AFDB Management Team.
The Team later went into series of technical meetings with top functionaries of the state.