From Our Correspondent in Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government says it is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystem (TRACE) project.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, announced this in a statement on Thursday in Ado Ekiti.
Oyebode said that USDA has awarded funding to Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to implement the project.
The funding is under USDA’s Food for Progress programme.
LWR will also strengthen the cocoa value chain in Nigeria, he stated.
According to the statement, EKSG in collaboration with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and others will implement the project.
An EKSG delegation recently met with the TRACE and the CRIN team.
TRACE and CRIN teams were led by the Deputy Chief of Party, Mr Wale Awoyemi and Dr Moses Ogunlade respectively.
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“The meeting discussed baseline studies on cocoa production in the state.
“Ekiti State Government team reiterated its commitment to providing an enabling environment and policy support for the successes of TRACE.
“The state has a reliable database of farmers and access to land in cocoa-producing belt, suitable for production,” Oyebode said.
He explained the partnership would deliver sustainable programmes that will expand the state’s access to competitive markets for cocoa trade.
“The TRACE project is a significant step towards improving traceability and resilience in agriculture and the cocoa ecosystem in Nigeria.
“The Ekiti State Government looks forward to a successful collaboration with the USDA, LWR, CRIN and others to achieve set goals of the project.
The project, worth approximately $22 million, is to be implemented in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Cross River, Abia and Akwa Ibom within five years.
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