Activities to mark the 2021 Cocoa Festival will commence tomorrow at the birthplace of Cocoa in South West of Nigeria, Eti-Oni, Atakumosa East Local Government, Osun State.
According to the organisers, the 8th edition of the festival is important because it marks 125 years of continued production of cocoa in Eti-Oni.
The 2021 Cocoa Festival is themed: ‘The Royal Origin and Traditions of Cocoa– Redefining Africa’s Cocoa Industry will begin on Sunday 21st November 2021 with the Cocoa harvest service at All Saints Anglican Church, Eti-Oni followed by the Cocoa Pod Breaking ceremony to declare the festival open.
In a virtual meeting held with journalists and other stakeholders all over the world, HRM Queen Angelique-Monet Gureje-Thompson, Yeyeluwa Olori of Eti-Oni, President of the Group while addressing newsmen said the Cocoa Festival is an initiative of the Eti-Oni Development Group in its efforts in the promotion of the revitalization of the cocoa industry.
The organisers disclosed that on Monday November 22nd and 23rd, there will be training for farmers through the Farmers Business School and the Farmers Field School. The business school is for the farmers to begin to see themselves as entrepreneurs and understand the basics of owning and managing a business profitably while the field school is to help them improve on their traditional farming practices to have better quality and increased production output.
A Health Campaign for education on simple issues that are often overlooked but can easily become major health challenges with basic health checks for the farmers and families will be carried out on Wednesday 24th November 2021.
The Grand Finale will be held on Saturday 27th November 2021. The celebration starts with installation of chiefs at the palace to deserving and selfless individuals who have over the years contributed to the growth and development of Eti-Oni and have lifetime commitment to actualization of the overall vision of Eti-Oni Development Group.
The organisers said the week’s celebration is packed with carefully well thought out events and activities to capture the full essence and to achieve the primary goals and objectives of the organizers offering opportunities in developing the tertiary sector of the agricultural business particularly the tourism aspect as a by-product and value add which is key to the nation’s need for diversification of her economy.
Last year, due to Covid, the 2020 edition was partially celebrated in a unique style. The Festival Conference themed: Transforming the Cocoa Industry for Impact with Focus on African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA was held as a Virtual Event.
The physical side of the 7th edition was for 1 day and held as an empowerment program sponsored by Ajike People Support Center founded by Her Excellency, Ambassador Dr Olufolake Abdulrazaq, the First Lady of Kwara State who holds the honorary chieftaincy title of Labinjo of Eti-Oni and is a Global Ambassador of the International Cocoa Diplomacy, UK. Some of the cocoa farmers were granted a number of equipment and tools to help diversify and boost earning capacity with other income streams.