With its rising status as a major cocoa producing state in Nigeria, Abia State is seeking investors to set up cocoa processing plants in the state to add value to its cocoa output.
Deputy Governor of the state, Comrade Chris Akomas made this known yesterday while briefing newsmen on the activities lined up for this year's National Cocoa Day slated for Akure, Ondo state between April 22 and 24, 2008, with the theme, 'Cocoa for health and wealth.'
The deputy governor, who is the state chairman of Cocoa Development Committee, said that there is a commitment to refocus cocoa as major foreign exchange earner as part of efforts to diversify the economy, which has over the years relied heavily on oil.
Abia recorded 47, 205 metric tons of cocoa in 2006 and increased the yield to 52, 656 in 2007, hence the deputy governor expressed hope that Abia cocoa farmers would record abundant harvest especailly as 450 cocoa farmers have been trained on modern farming techniques.
Akomas said that the state government has adopted dynamic an aggressive approach in its efforts to ensure that cocoa production was enhanced, adding that a Cocoa Monitoring Committee has been set up to ensure that cocoa produced in Abia was of high grade.
He further stated that the monitoring committee comprising members of the Cocoa Development Committee, farmers, produce buyers and security agencies, was also involved in the prevention of cocoa smuggling in the state.