LAGOS – Eti-Oni Development Group is set to hold the 8th edition of it’s annual cocoa Festival.
The festival according to the organisers is to create a renaissance in the cocoa industry in a manner that will first appreciate the farmers, return dignity and self-worth to the farmers so that the coming generation can embrace cocoa farming with pride.
The theme of this year’s festival is; ‘Royal Origin and Traditions of Cocoa – Redefining Africa’s Cocoa Industry’
HRM Queen Angelique-Monet Gureje-Thompson, Yeyeluwa Olori of Eti-Oni, President of the Group while addressing newsmen virtually on the line up of activities to mark the festival 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.
“Our approach is through creating a cocoa culture and building platforms for cultural exchange, networking, exchange of ideas and opportunities for networking that will lead to establishing collaborations and partnerships that will bridge the gap between production and consumption and ultimately achieve mutual and beneficial shared value to create wealth that can transform the communities.
The Programme according to her is a week-long annual celebration of Peace, Love and Development in Eti-Oni, Osun State.
She noted that Eti-Oni is home to Nigeria’s oldest cocoa plantation and the birthplace of cocoa in Southwest Nigeria.
“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.
Speaking further she said the challenges faced in Eti-Oni by cocoa farmers is the same faced by cocoa farmers in producing regions either in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Columbia or St Lucia or India.
“These communities are left in a state of neglect with lack of social services and physical infrastructure with cocoa farming seen as a retirement vocation or survival act after returning to the community when all venture sought after in urban cities has failed and with the average age of farmers at over 45yrs.
Speaking further she said the celebration of the cultural heritage of Eti-Oni now in its 8th edition is also celebrating 125 years of continued production of cocoa in Eti-Oni.
“Over the years, it saw in attendance agriculturalists (new and established), agro-tourists as well as local and international travel enthusiasts who came to participate in somewhat divine and significant royal cocoa traditions of Eti-Oni showcased through music, dance, drama and poetry amongst other events through the entire week of celebration.
Gureje-Thompson further noted that this year’s festival is geared to take a new dimension as the newly founded Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals, the first of its kind will be launched.
According to her the Programme will begin on Sunday 21st November with the Cocoa Harvest Service at All Saints Anglican Church, Eti-Oni followed by the Cocoa Pod Breaking Ceremony to declare the festival open for a beautiful, healthy, peaceful and bountiful 2021/22 Season.
On Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd November, there will be farmers’ training by the Farmers Business School and the Farmers Field School.