The Chairman of the Rivers State Pineapple Farmers Association, Abua/Odual Chapter, Chief Samuel Sunday has called on the Federal and Rivers State governments to set up a soft drinks industry in the area.
Chief Samuel who made the call in an exclusive interview with our Special Correspondent at Arukwo Community in Abua Central during a harvest exercise in his farm said that the citing of such a firm was necessary since the area has a comparative advantage on the mass cultivation of Pineapple.
The farmer who explained that Abua as a whole was noted to be a major producer of the Crop in the State stressed that the King and Queen specie was not only the sweetest but the most sought after.
He also called on private investors to see the viability of such a venture as lucrative as according to him, government “cannot do every thing alone in terms of industrilisation at the grassroots”.
He said so far, the use of co-operatives by farmers in the area in securing loans from government has not been favourable to them, adding that, “we have tried several times but it proved abortive”.
He stressed that the best solution was the establishment of a soft drinks firm in the area because such development “will make the Pineapple farmers sell their farm produce direct to the company”.
Chief Samuel added that the move would checkmate and discourage the “shylock middle men syndrome who were hell bent on impoverishing us the local farmers”.
However, while expressing the hope that the Rivers State government under the leadership of Governor Rotimi Amaechi would come to their aid by establishing the industry, he urged his co-farmers not to relent in cultivating the crop, as it has been their only means of livelihood over the years.