The Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Cross River chapter has urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that pesticides imported into Nigeria are of standard.
The association said this in a communique signed by its Chairman, and secretary, Mr Ejor Bissong and Mr Shittu Olawale, which was made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Calabar at the end of its meeting.
The association also called for the prohibition of substandard pesticides in the country.
It said unless something was done to salvage the situation, Nigeria was likely to lose patronage of its cocoa produce at the international market due to poor quality cocoa beans.
It called on government at all levels to ban the use of fake pesticides which was known to have negativity impact on the quality of cocoa beans and the price of Nigerian cocoa at the international market.
“Members of CAN should get copies of approved standards made available by SON, right methods of application of pesticides like the European Union (EU) standard or even the Japanese standard and adopt them.
“Both Federal and state governments should set up a taskforce that would monitor the quality of cocoa beans produced by farmers in the states to meet standard required at the International market.
“We need to move away from conventional cocoa to organic cocoa that is certified because the quality of our produce determines the country’s national image.’’
According to him, there is the need for accredited laboratories for determining the true quality of our cocoa in order to come up with better flavours to compete favourably.
The association called on its members not to cut down trees in order not to expose farms to acute sunlight, adding that when a cocoa farm was exposed to excessive sunlight, there was a tendency of the farm’s life span to be shortened.
It said the nation’s forests must be preserved, saying that deliberate afforestation was imperative because cocoa stems at a certain point need canopies that help to increase its life span and that of the land.
The association also encouraged farmers to own android phones to download useful applications in order to have access to useful information that may help to boost their production capacities. (NAN