A cocoa processing and chocolate manufacturing firm, Garry Callebaut Nigeria, has said it would begin to plant no fewer than 100 trees in some selected secondary schools in Ondo State.
The firm said it embarked on the tree planting as part of the efforts to involve in the global carbon reduction goal, noting that the planted trees would be monitored and nurtured by the pupils in the beneficiary schools.
The Sustainability Manager for Barry Callebaut Nigeria, Mr Mojeed Oniyide stated this at a competition – ‘Seeds for change secondary school speech contest’ held at the Aquinas College, Akure, Ondo State. The competition was organised by the agro-allied company.
Oniyide also stated that the project would enable the pupils to learn and know the importance of tree planting to the environment.
He explained, “As a reward for participation and as a symbol of the global carbon reduction goal, 100 trees will be planted in three different schools which would be nurtured by the students.
“This will help students to learn about trees, to take care of them and to see them thrive day by day, just as we would like to see children thrive.
“The trees would be planted in the schools of the winners among the students for them to understand that as part of the solution mitigating against the climate change we are experiencing, they can also be part of the solution. Also, they can have a sense of responsibility that it is their responsibility to plant at a tender age and this is the best time to encourage them.”
On the speech competition, the manager stated that five secondary schools participated in the contest, which included, St. Thomases Aquinas College, Fiwasaye Girls Grammar School, Akure Muslim College, Imafon High School and Ogbe High School, all in Akure, the state capital.
He said, “The essence of the speech contest is to enlighten the children about some of the challenges the farmers are facing and the young ones can start thinking of the solution to support the farmers. Some of them can become farmers, and some of them can become lawyers that will formulate policies that will support the farmers in the future.
“Some of the issues we are addressing in cocoa sustainability is paramount that children are also one of the vulnerable people that we are also looking at. We have child labour cases in the cocoa sector, by this, the children will also be aware of some of the challenges they are having and how they can face their education squarely and how they can proffer a solution to the coming generation.”
He further explained that some schools were selected for the competition from the cocoa-producing communities where most of the farmers were based so that they can fill the impact of the cocoa sustainability programme of the company.