The University of Calabar and
the Cross River State Government are poised to partner in the establishment and
developing of a model cocoa farm in the University.
This was the kernel of discuss during interactions between the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu and the Special Adviser to the Governor of Cross River State, (SA) on cocoa production Mr. Oscar Ofuka who led a team of officials on a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor recently.
Mr. Ofuka while addressing the Vice Chancellor congratulated him on his visible achievements and prayed God to give him the grace to do more.
The Special Adviser said Cocoa before now had been the main stay of the country’s economy before it was unfortunately relegated to the background following the discovery of crude oil.
He stated that following recent economic realities, and the need to diversify the economy, a revamp of the agriculture sector and indeed cocoa production was on going, adding that, there is an ongoing cocoa revolution as driven by his Excellency, the Governor of Cross River state, Prof. (Sen.) Ben Ayade who has vowed to plant cocoa in every nook and cranny of the State.
Mr. Ofuka further declared that as the Governor’s aide, the department of cocoa production and development is doing its best to key into that revolution hence the need to seek partnership with major stakeholders.
The Special Adviser said that informed the desire of the State to partner with the University to open a model cocoa farm with a view not only to increase production but to also teach students and carry out research on cocoa production.
Mr. Ofuka who stated that the reason for the visit was primarily to present sufficient cocoa pods for use in the nursery described “Unical as the place to be” hence the desire for a model farm in the Institution which is expected not to only produce cocoa but to be significantly involved in the whole value chain of cocoa processing.
He expressed his strong hope that the University management will give the relevant department the requisite support to develop the proposed model farm.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Zana Akpagu, welcome the visitors to the University expressing his happiness to receive the team of officials.
Prof. Akpagu described their desire as an answer to managements’ prayers because according to him, discussions in line with the Special Adviser request have been in the front Burner of the University Management’s aspirations.
The varsity helmsman said such discussions have been ongoing with the National President of the Cocoa Producers Association