BY ONOME AMUGE
The Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria (CPFAN) has announced plans to establish three mega processing factories in Ondo, Osun and Oyo States at a combined cost of N1.5 billion.
The factories will support farming businesses and boost production of the commodities.
Ayodele Ojo, president of CPFAN, made this known during a recent stakeholders’ meeting organised by the association in Akure, Ondo State.
Ojo said each of the processing factories in the South-West region is projected to cost N500m and would produce plantain and cocoa powder for domestic utilisation only.
The CPFAN president further stated that the association is also making plans to establish the mega-processing factories across all six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The reason for this, he explained, is to address the shortages of processed plantains and cocoa in the country and to facilitate even distribution across all regions.
According to him, a mini-version of the project has already been sited and commissioned by members of the association in Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, and it is already up and running.
In addition to the development, he said the association would soon launch mini versions of the projects to complement the mega-project in other states, adding that CPFAN is willing to be a part of the solution to the challenges affecting agriculture in Nigeria by creating an enabling environment for all players in the cocoa and plantain value chains.
Ojo hinted that the association is making concerted efforts with food technology institutions into how plantain and cocoa commodities can be merged into one single dietary product that is generally suitable for consumption for all ages, acceptable, and valuable for all.
“We have already fostered partnerships with the Department of Food Science and Technology in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife and Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) to help us facilitate the research,” he said.
He also called for the inclusion of plantain commodity in the Anchor Borrowers Scheme as well as the provision of agricultural inputs such as agro-chemicals, mechanised tools, improved varieties of cocoa and plantain for planting and other necessary inputs to boost production and bring a remarkable and significant improvement to the various nodes of the value chains.