The Cross-River Government is making big plans for the cocoa industry.

It is constructing a 7-billion-naira cocoa processing plant in Ikom Local Government Area to boost cocoa production.

“We have been able to raise nursery to expand our cocoa farms. We have government cocoa estate with about 5,000 hectares planted already,” boasted the State’s governor, Professor Ben Ayade in Abuja on Monday in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the First International Cocoa Summit organised by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Cocoa Development, Oscar Ofuka, said the move is aimed at diversifying the state's dependence on crude oil.

Ayade said the state government is formulating a policy that would mandate 70% local consumption of cocoa in the state.

Also Read:#BounceExclusive: ‘My Fish Farm Could Generate N2Billion In 12 Months’ – Daniel Enebeli

He said that the government is also supporting local cocoa farmers to boost production.

“We have achieved so much on cocoa production. Before now, cocoa was relegated to the background.

“The state government has made it as a policy to open new cocoa farms across the state.

“We have been exporting cocoa all this while but now, government has come up with a policy that will encourage local consumption of about 70 per cent of the cocoa produced in the state.

"This is to ensure that jobs are created.

“Cross River is the second largest producer of cocoa in the country with Ondo State as the largest producer but we want to overtake it,’’ Ayade said.

Also watch: