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EU distributes 150,000 high-yielding cocoa seedlings to Cross River farmers in 4 years

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By Akpan David, Calabar

Director of an NGO Cross River Landscape in Wildlife Conservation Society, Mr Anthony Atah has disclosed that the European Union, (EU), was able to distribute 150,000 high yielding cocoa seedlings to farmers.

He said this gesture came under the EU project for the preservation of forest ecosystems in Cross River State.

Reeling out achievements which the four year project has made in the state, Atah said that the 150,000 seedlings were planted in the host communities of the Cross River National Park, (CRNP), as a way of dissuading them from depending on forest resources.

According to him, 400 farmers received these seedlings, and also benefitted from training on how to nurture the seeds.

“Out of this number of seedlings planted by these farmers, over 85% of them have survived, and should begin to yield for harvesting.

“The purpose of this support to these 400 farmers was to enable them transit to conservation cocoa practices and organization for access to specialty markets.

“During this period, we have been able to promote sustainable and resilient cocoa agriculture. We were able to sustain harvesting of non-timber forest products”, Atah said.

He maintained that the effort was able to engage the farmers meaningfully by making them to focus on economic aspect of cocoa instead of plundering forest resources.

Mr Gabriel Inah, a cocoa farmer, said he got good number of the cocoa varieties to regenerate his farms.

He was happy that at harvest, he was sure of reaping much, praying EU to sustain the supports to smallholder farmers not necessarily cocoa farmers as this has helped to enhance livelihoods.

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