Calabar — Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River State is worried that the state is no longer at the vanguard of cocoa production in Nigeria.

He attributed the situation to the ancient method of cocoa management and production in the state alongside with cocoa politics, which have seen the state fall to number three in cocoa production ranking in the country.

In an interview with Daily Trust, Ayade said most of the cocoa plantations are still the old stocks.

“There has not been replanting of new and high-yielding species of cocoa in the state in recent times. Our cocoa plantations are still the old ones which our fathers knew when they were children.

“There are pod diseases all over and no right fumigant to contain assorted diseases that attack these cocoa plantations.

“This is the reason the state is at the verge of establishing a cocoa firm to revolutionise cocoa business and improve production in a more modern way in conjunction with technical operators,” he disclosed.

The governor promised to partner with core cocoa stakeholders in and outside the state in order to properly establish the company as a joint venture.

Ayade said his aim of establishing the cocoa company is to ensure that neither Nigeria nor the state imports cocoa by-products from other countries.

He added that as part of revolutionising agriculture to boost the state economy, there is going to be massive reorientation of the people to see agric business as a money spinner.

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