By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The Cross River Government cocoa project is facing implementation challenges due to lack of coordination of activities by government officials, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN recalls that Governor Ben Ayade announced last year that his administration would make Cross River a front line cocoa producing state in the country.
Ayade then set up the state’s Cocoa Farm Allocation Committee with Mr Augustine Ayuk as Chairman to realize this dream.
However, Mr Oscar Ofuka, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Cocoa Development, told NAN in Calabar on Sunday, that his office was reviewing the allocation of cocoa farms made in 2016.
He said the exercise will review the irregularities that accompanied the committee’s allocation of farm lands to cocoa farmers in the state.
“The committee did a shoddy job which has led to the loss of 2016 cocoa farming season.
“The committee has no reason to continue to exist. I therefore appeal to the governor to immediately disband the committee to give way for a fresh start,” he said.
The Special Adviser said that the review would ascertain genuine cocoa farmers and the location of their farms for proper accountability.
He accused the committee of inciting the farmers not to appear for the audit, which he said, was aimed at making fresh allocation of farm lands for the 2017 farming season.
In his reaction, Ayuk dismissed the allegation of irregularities and said that there was no such review of 2016 allocation of farmlands in the state.
“It is only the Special Adviser that is doing all that. Even the state Ministry of Agriculture which my committee falls under, does not know anything about the so-called exercise.
“We are carrying on with our cocoa farming; we are not affected,” Ayuk said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the review panel, Mr Mbek Tangban, has said that the exercise is progressing.
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