Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Tuesday, inaugurated an Ultra Modern 15,000 tones Cocoa processing factory, the Johnvents Industries Nigeria Ltd, with a promise to join hands with stakeholders to reposition and boost cocoa business in the state.
Speaking during the inauguration, Akeredolu reiterated the commitment of the present administration to boost cocoa production saying the state will soon attain its position as the hub of cocoa production in the country.
Akeredolu who disclosed that the cocoa revolution had kicked off in the state, said that over 10,000 hectares of land had been cleared at Jugbere in Owo Local Government Area solely for the cultivation of cocoa.
According to him, as part of efforts to maintain and boost cocoa production in Ondo State, his government has distributed over two million hybrid Cocoa seedlings to farmers for free, saying no fewer than 1.75m cocoa trees have been planted by farmers in the state in the last two years.
According to the governor, the present administration is poised to revive cocoa production in the state in order for the state and country to regain its rightful position in the community of cocoa-producing countries.
He said all these steps was to revive the dwindling cocoa plantations and return the state and Nigeria to the place of pride in cocoa production and expressed his administration’s determination to increase the state’s cocoa output.
Akeredolu who commended the company for choosing Ondo State as the investment destination for such a magnificent agribusiness project noted that the establishment of the Johnvents Cocoa processing factory will create more employment opportunities for the youths in the state.
He said: “I am delighted to be here for the commissioning of the Johnvents Cocoa processing Factory. Today’s commission of this incredible project is an important milestone in cocoa agribusiness, not only to Ondo state but to Nigeria as a whole.
“Nigeria is not taking advantage of the cocoa value chain as only about ten per cent of Nigeria cocoa beans is processed into cocoa butter and powder, while the rest is exported.
“What this means is that we are losing about 90 per cent of our probable revenue from cocoa. I believe that the addition of Johnvents Cocoa will increase the percentage of cocoa beans processed in Nigeria.”
Speaking, the Group Managing Director of CapitalSage, the holding company of Johnvents Industries Limited, John Alamu said: “Our vision is to continuously drive sustainable growth across the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria.
“With the abundant cocoa production in the country, our value should far exceed what it currently is. This is why we have taken the audacious step of developing a multi-billion Naira cocoa processing factory of this magnitude.
“This will help the country further tap into the $5billion potential value of cocoa, which we are currently not harnessing due to overreliance on cocoa beans alone.”
Alamu explained the factory promises to be a connecting bridge between cocoa farmers and the global cocoa market, thereby contributing meaningfully to Nigeria’s exports.
He said: “Johnvents Cocoa Processing Factory will crush cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, butter, cake, and powder, for internal consumption and export into other markets across Europe, Asia and America, thereby increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“Interestingly, the economic benefits of this factory go beyond its contributions to foreign exchange earnings. It will also be a big player in job creation through 300 direct jobs and over 17,000 indirect jobs for Ondo state indigenes and Nigerians across the country.”
He called for stakeholders continued support to ensure that the country moves beyond cocoa beans production to becoming a continental and global giant in cocoa processing for local consumption and export purposes.
Some of the dignitaries at the inauguration included, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, the Jegun of Ile Oluji, Oba (Dr.) Julius Adetimehin, amongst others
Johnvents Industries Limited, owners of Johnvents Cocoa Processing Factory, was incorporated in 2016, and since its inception, the company has been at the forefront of driving sustainable growth and end-to-end transformation across the entire agricultural value chain from production, processing, manufacturing.
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