OONI UNVEILS ONE MILLION COCOA TREES FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT
The Ooni of Ile-Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II has unveiled a nursery plant of one million cocoa trees in Ile-Ife as part of his agricultural revolution to reduce youth unemployment in the area.
The monarch was quoted in a statement issued by Moses Olafare, the director, Media and Public Affairs Ooni's Palace, in Osogbo yesterday as saying the initiative was the first phase of the targeted 10 millions trees to be given out to shortlisted 100,000 youths and the thousands of widows who are victims of the communal war between Ife and Modakeke some years ago.
Ooni Ogunwusi, who restated his commitment to creating a renewed hope for the youths through agricultural revolution which is very significant in his 11-point agenda, expressed sadness over unwarranted neglect of cocoa farming which was once a major foreign earning in Nigeria especially in the south-west part of the country.
The royal father, who is the Grand Patron of the Graduate Farmers Association of Nigeria explained that he chose agriculture, cocoa to be specific which now sells for about $3,000 dollars per tonne as a perfect alternative to the dwindling crude oil.
The statement further reads: "It is pertinent to say that we are not alone in this masses- oriented scheme as we are already into very assuring collaborations.
"The Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has thrown the weight of the state government behind the project that will surely improve the IGR of governments at all levels.
"The federal government through Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbe has given a nod of cooperation to our GREENFIELD to enjoy mechanization to till the land for us to be able to plant the cash crop, the hybrids and the improved seedlings that will bring out 2000kg to be harvested all year round.
"We have Dynamic Green Concept Ltd, a USA based company from Dallas for soil improvement. We are in a strategic partnership with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN).
"Kabiyesi will also in June visit Hersey Chocolate factory in Philadelphia which is the American biggest Chocolate factory for the supply of our cocoa beans and for further value addition to cocoa processing right here in Nigeria before exportation, which will provide further employment to the youths in Nigeria."