Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) and Partnership Initiatives in Niger Delta (PIND) have certified 14 cocoa seed nursery operators at CRIN’s headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Communications Coordinator for PIND, Mrs Onyinye Muomah, made this known on Monday in a statement issued to pressmen in Abuja.
Muomah said that the expansion was part of efforts at improving cocoa production in the country.
According to the statement, PIND’s Advocacy Manager, Chuks Ofulue, who represented the Executive Director, Tunji Idowu, at the certification event, emphasised the importance of the partnership and its significance to the cocoa sector.
“PIND found many missed opportunities within the cocoa value chain. So, we began partnering with the sector’s actors and CRIN to address some of the challenges,” Ofulue said.
Noted that PIND and CRIN had, in 2021, formed a partnership to strengthen the market system for producing and distributing quality seeds in the cocoa sector and improve access to improved seedlings for cocoa farmers in the Niger Delta region.
“One major part of the partnership activities included the selection and training of seed nursery operators on best nursery management practices.
“Following the training, PIND supported 14 seed entrepreneurs to establish seed nurseries and produce over 100,000 seedlings supplied commercially to farmers across the region.
“PIND also provided routine monitoring and mentoring support to seed nursery operators and, in collaboration with CRIN, conducted a joint monitoring/evaluation this year to review their performances,” the statement said.
NAN reports that the nursery operators were also assessed for certification and licensing, as third-party seedling producers and distributors.
CRIN’s Executive Director, Dr Patrick Adebola, said that the institute was happy to partner with PIND, as it believed it was a partnership that would yield results.
“We partnered with PIND to train the nursery operators because we believe that if we have a request for seedlings that we cannot meet, we can easily direct farmers to the certified nursery operators to fill in the gaps.
Apart from servicing the farmers within their localities, the nursery operators can also serve as contractors to CRIN,” he said.
Director of CRIN’s Cocoa Programme, Dr Abiodun Adedeji, compared the success of the PIND/CRIN partnership with a similar programme the institute ran between 2015 and 2019.
He said that the institute produced and distributed 601,000 cocoa pods to farmers, only to find out that fewer than 10 per cent of those pods were converted to seedlings for expanding cocoa production in Nigeria. (NAN) (