Osun to set up Commodity Board for Alternative Revenues
……. Says “Cocoa Omoluabi” will be best grade from Nigeria
In the bid to increase Internally Generated Revenue in the state, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has hinted of the coming Commodity Board that will ensure that Osun ranks among the best cocoa producers in Nigeria within the next two years.He said the board will be under direct supervision of his office.
The governor, while meeting with Produce merchants in the state at the Government House in Osogbo, stated that with the new cocoa development initiatives in the state, fresh revenues will be available to the state thus making the economy of the state prosperous in 2016.
He told the produce merchants that the economic situation of the state has been badly affected with the pillaging of the national treasury by the previous administration.
Aregbesola added that the situation with the drop in oil prices and the sharp reduction in the Federation Accounts from N1.2 trillion in 2012 to N369 billion in November allocations shared in December 2015 has reduced the running of government to little or nothing hence, the need to look inward in increasing IGR.
The governor noted that the state will soon bounce back with the identification of Sixty million Cocoa trees presently in the state, adding that government henceforth will criminalize any action of farmers and merchants that runs foul of government laws on cocoa.
He pointed out that government will soon be registering all farmers in the state for easy implementation of government policies on agriculture thus giving adequate room for monitoring and giving the necessary support for farmers.
According to him, “To show the people of the state that we are ready to face agriculture squarely in Osun, I am establishing a Commodity Board that will be supervised directly from the office of the governor.
“Our bags of cocoa in Osun will be branded with this; government will be able to ensure that the quality of cocoa coming out of the state meets international quality standards.
“When there was free money coming from oil, no government was looking at what cocoa could bring to the economy; we are back to the days where cocoa will be the main stay of our economy in Osun,” The governor emphasized.
Aregbesola hinted that Produce tribunals will be set up across the state and that special colour will be given to vehicles transporting cocoa within the state.
The Governor reminded produce merchants of the immense wealth that cocoa alone brought to the Western Region and the good use to which the revenues were put by the then governments.
The Governor added that the State Executive Council meetings will be held in rural areas where cocoa farming is thriving in the state for about six months to one year after the formation of his cabinet.
Earlier, the Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Osun, Chief Raheem Adeniji, stated that the association is ready to partner and cooperate with government in her bid to revamp the cocoa farming in the state.
He lamented the poor economic state the country has found itself with the neglect of cocoa which he said was the backbone of the economy in the 60s.
He identified the cancellation of Cocoa and Marketing Board by the then military government as a setback for the industry in Nigeria.