The 8th edition of the cocoa festival in Osun State signifies fresh hope for cocoa farmers in the state and the South West region.
Tagged Gureje Day, the festival was held at Eti-Oni, an ancient town in Atakumosa East Local Government Area of Osun State which is said to be the origin of cocoa production in Nigeria.
Nigeria is currently the world’s fourth-largest producer of cocoa.
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The Cocoa Festival was celebrated with dance, music, drama and poetry that relayed events and activities which led to the establishment of Eti-Oni and the beginning of cocoa production in the community 125 years ago.
Cocoa farmers were also trained on how to manage their farms, safety issues and how to make adequate profit.
Some of the cocoa farmers who spoke with Daily Trust said the festival was very significant as it reinforced their love for cocoa farming.
They also expressed optimism that promises by the state government during the festival would be fulfilled to help them in their cocoa business.
One of the cocoa farmers, Mr Tunde Olowe, said, “The Cocoa Festival has been very impactful over the years; the training sessions always equip us with new skills and techniques which we found very helpful and this year’s introduction of a film festival brought about a sense of pride that we could be in the same space with top government officials and accomplished individuals”.
Also speaking, another cocoa farmer, Mrs Yemisi Adebayo, said: “Every year just before the Cocoa Festival starts, we see some progress and development being achieved such as grading of the road to Eti-Oni”.
The state governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, said his administration recognised cocoa as a catalytic crop for sustainable socio-economic development and rejoiced with the cocoa farmers on the celebration.
The governor congratulated the traditional ruler, the Oloni of Eti-Oni, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dokun Thompson, on the event.
He assured cocoa farmers that the state government would assist them to make commensurate profits from their cocoa.