Saturday 28 September 2013

Ondo Cocoa Farmers Get N40 Million Premium Reward for Quality Cocoa

         HUNDREDS of cocoa farmers belonging to various groups in Ondo State have been rewarded with N40 million premium payments for producing utz-certified cocoa beans by Cargill Cocoa and Chocolates, a Holland-based consumer company and its Nigerian partners, Agro-Traders Limited.

         The payments which was presented to the farmers in Akure, the Ondo State capital at the weekend by the European company which consumes about one-third of global production and is the largest buyer of Nigerian cocoa in the international market, was for about 6,000 tones produced by the farmers.
      The utz certification is a global programme of quality control subscribed to by many international consumers of agricultural products to raise the standard of farm produce with adequate rewards for complying partners in form of premium pricing above the normal global rates.
      It involves provision of inputs and training of farmers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), good business practices, occupational health and safety, social and environmental issues as well as natural resources and bio-diversity for the producers to come out with top-grade, international standard and environmental compliant products.
      The Managing Director of Agro-Traders, Kunle Ayoade, said with the participation of Ondo State farmers in the certification programme “average yield per hectare have been raised from national average of 300 kg to 450 kg in Owo/Akure cooperative unions and 750 kg in Odode Idanre cooperative unions due to our intervention.
    “Certification is one of the available tools to ensure the application of principles for sustainable production of cash crop. It is particularly relevant in optimization of agriculture land resource. The payment of premium is one of the numerous benefits of this laudable programme others being increased capacity building among farmers, better yield per hectare, increased supply of good quality cocoa, improved livelihood for farmers and environmental protection for the benefit of all.”

Friday 27 September 2013

Ogwo's 'Observation' Goes Motivational

         EMENIKE Ogwo’s new body of work titled, Observation, which took centrestage at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently, added visual narrative to the expanding ‘industry’ of motivational literary works.
       With 36 paintings, including his familiar impastor-style textured canvas and acrylic on paper, Ogwo delves into the familiar issue of man’s power of observation, stressing the abundance of nature in every given state of the environment.
         An impressionist whose palette makes no pretext about deliberately engaging a viewer of his work in visibility test, Ogwo’s choice of Observation, as a theme, indeed, complements his technique — there is a thin line between the ability to understand the composite of images on his canvas and having a great sense of observation. And bringing such combination into his thoughts about the environment and hidden opportunity, stresses a strong intellection imbedded in the artist’s approach to motivational theme. 
         From Lagos to Owerri, and the northern part of the country, Ogwo’s palette perches on the peculiarity of each city and suggests how opportunities are hidden, but only those with keen Observation make the best of the situations.   
        He notes that as people become less observant, they see “less opportunity”. Perhaps, the environment is becoming less interesting, so, is the decline in people’s sense of observation. “There is nothing created by God that is not good,” Ogwo argues. Even with man’s devastation of the earth, nature’s resilience, he insists, is still strong enough to create sustenance for those who have the ability to see hidden opportunity. “Opportunity exists where we chose to find it”. 
      Aside from the motivational tone of the artist’s visual narratives imbedded in the body of work, also highlighted is the human pressure on the environment. Having consistently focused the urban Lagos in his past art exhibitions, the artist’s highlight of the Lagos environmental and human challenges continues in Observation. 

By Tajudeen Sowole