[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]
Civil servants in the Cross River State Civil Service have been urged to embrace cocoa cultivation to secure their future and that of their children.
Special Adviser to the Cross River State governor on Cocoa Development and Control Ntufam Dr. Oscar Ofuka made the plea in Calabar during the flag off of cocoa planting at the State Secretariat.
He added that to make cocoa available to more people, the government has created small holders scheme to segregate to segregate cocoa plantations into hectares for farmers.
The idea, he said is that after retirement, civil servants can settle down, have enough security for their children.
“We have decided to go into small holders scheme where we have segmented the cocoa plantations into hectares and distribute to farmers and civil servants as well.
“The idea is that after retirement, they can settle down and have enough security for their children as well as food on the table”, he said.
Speaking on the flag off, he said the essence is to encourage more civil servants to cultivate cocoa stressing that the government has created the enabling environment for people to become millionaires.
“The essence of this flag off is to encourage civil servants to go into massive cocoa cultivation because the governor has created the enabling environment for us to become millionaires.
“Today cocoa is thriving everywhere and the cocoa we have can grow even on a rock.
“The flag off of this exercise is enough sensitization that the only way we can secure our future is to go into massive cocoa cultivation.
“We desire to design the Secretariat with cocoa, it is not only going to yield income to us but serve as ornamental trees”, he said
On his part, Dominic Akwaji, the Head of Service said the state is blessed with 5 distinct exo types and all these can sustain cocoa development.
He said, “If there is hope for the state it is that the governor has shown us the light to embrace agriculture.
“This flag off gives a strong indication to civil servants that they must create additional income line.
“When you are in service you have to create a line of income in farming as it does not conflict with civil service work”, he said.
Commissioners who planted cocoa stems during the exercise include Tanko Ashang, John Ulafor, Professor Eneji, and many others.