The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Monday, commissioned a modern chocolate factory in the ancient city of Idanrel in Idanre Local Government Area of the state.
The factory, though initiated by his predecessor in partnership with a United States-based firm, Spagnvola Chocolatiers, was completed by the Akeredolu led administration.
The factory, estimated to be worth #9billion, will produce 2.8 million tons of Chocolate per annum.
The governor said his dream for Ondo “is to be a state that doesn’t rely on allocation from the federation account to pay salaries and fund infrastructure before the year 2024”.
He said, “I will work to hand over a State that does not rely on allocation to pay salaries by the year 2024.
“I want to change our narrative. Enough of Ondo being tagged as a civil service state. We are a hidden wealth of Nigeria. We shall explore all our potentials.
“Let me assure all the good people of Ondo State that this factory shall run independently of politics. It shall be run in line with global best practices.
“To guarantee a constant supply of cocoa beans to the factory, the Oda Cocoa Plantation, which is over 1,744 Hectares, has been resuscitated and made functional with over 250 Cocoa farmers upscaling daily production from the farm
“I will never rest until we win the battle against unemployment in our state through industrialisation, agriculture, and technology.
“To consolidate our foothold as the number one cocoa producer in Nigeria, this administration has established a modern cocoa farm at Ijugbere Camp in Ilale, Owo on 8,400Hectatres of land with the capacity to accommodate 2,000 youths who would be resident on the farm with a minimum of four Hectares of Land per person.”
In their separate remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture and Agro Business, Pastor Akin Olotu, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment and Development, Mr Boye Oyewumi, said the factory was already moribund before the emergence of the current administration