Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu, with members of the State committee on select agro-products value chain development.

Cross River governor, Senator Bassey Otu, Tuesday 13th March, inaugurated a multi-stakeholder committee to draw up a development framework for the optimisation of oil palm, cocoa and coffee value chains in the state.

Inaugurating the committee, Governor Otu pointed out that “cocoa, coffee and oil palm are crops in which Cross River State enjoys unchallenged comparative advantage in the country. And determined to derive maximum return on our advantage, we have, after a careful consideration, come up with this model of having key stakeholders to achieve our dream in an organised and co-operative manner.

“We have taken this option because of the belief that while the crops are different, your managerial and active experience from your respective backgrounds will complement each other for the greatest benefit of the state.”

Otu further said “the initiative is also to minimize duplication of effort in certain areas of production, while at the same time avoiding the tendency of reaching out to the same technical partners for support, as it is more likely under an alternative multiple committee structure.”

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The governor highlighted the committee’s terms of reference to include the following: develop a 7-year strategic plan that outlines strategies that enhances cocoa, coffee and oil palm cultivation, productivity and quality; to design Value Chain policies for cocoa and oil palm in such a manner that it encourages direct investment, supports farmers and addresses market dynamics.

According to the Governor, it was also to mobilise resources for the plan to establish six new cocoa estates in Cross River State which must be in line with climate and biodiversity consideration; and, to evaluate existing laws related to cocoa and oil palm production in order to make necessary adjustments to promote growth.