Cocoa Farming & Processing

Cocoa Farming and Processing – The agricultural sector is a very important sector in the economy of the country. There are various cash crops and agricultural products that are sold and exported from the country but for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on one and that is Cocoa farming and Processing.

Cocoa is a major cash crop, regarded internationally as one of the most economically important product that agriculture has to offer. It therefore goes without saying that a lot of people invest in the Cocoa business as it is seen as a very good and profitable business venture. Without even conducting any poll, you can tell for yourself that the crop is in huge demand globally as it is the raw material for a lot of favourite beverages, snacks and processed food.

Cocoa Farming

Making investments in the farming of Cocoa is a very profitable one. This is because once the crop is matured and starts yielding, it will continue so for a very long period of time and the farmer will keep selling the produce and making money without going through the stress of planting and waiting for maturity again.

 

GET YOUR Cocoa Farming / Processing Business Plan / Feasibility Study. To place an order, pay N10,000 to

GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183

After payment text your name, your e-mail address and payment details to 08060565721.

 

With all that we discussed so far regarding Cocoa farming, you will not be wrong to refer to it as the goldmine of the agricultural sector.

Focusing on Nigeria, it is no more news that the discovery of oil practically overshadowed most of the other sources of revenue for the country, agriculture included. This has affected many of the farm produce that would usually be exported as a means of generating revenue for the country.

Before the discovery of oil, cocoa was seen as one of the major sources of revenue for the country as it was one of Nigeria’s major export product. But then came the oil boom and all that most people were concerned with was the drilling and exporting of crude oil and its products.

That notwithstanding anyone who decides to go into the cocoa farming business will stand to make a lot of money, especially as the sector now seems grossly untapped. There is no doubt that there is an ever ready market ready to absorb your produce once they are ready. If you have an idea about farming and you are looking for which crops to invest in that will be very beneficial to you in the long run, then you have to seriously consider going into cocoa farming.

Agriculture in Nigeria

To properly discuss cocoa farming in Nigeria, we have to take a look at agriculture in the country generally as well as the agricultural practices that the population engages in. That being said, did you know that at least 70% of the total Nigerian population engages in agricultural practices either directly or indirectly? This spans across subsistence and commercial farming, crop and livestock farming.

This makes for about 41% of GDP of the Nigerian economy. Various administrations have made it a point of duty to encourage Nigerians to engage in farming. This is because it goes a long way in helping to eradicate the issue of poor feeding, and malnutrition. It also serves as a good source of income to the farmers and as a means of generating revenue for the country.

You can say that the efforts are paying off as more and more people are now into agriculture. People have now come to realize that indeed engaging in agriculture is a really profitable venture, one of the reasons being that there is always a ready market for the farm produce.

As we all already know, food is a basic necessity to man so there are always people ready to purchase the farm produce that you bring into the market. In fact despite the number of people engaged in agriculture in the country, you see that it is still not meeting up to demand and a lot of money is still spent every year on food importation into the country. So you see that there is still a lot of room for more people to be involved and that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to sell off your produce because people eat every day.

So what do you say? Will you not rather tap into this amazing opportunity and be on your way to financial freedom? What usually poses as a source of concern to people, who want to go into one business or the other, is the issue of whether or not there is a market for their produce. This will no be an issue if you venture into this part of agriculture because as we said, there is a ready market just waiting for you. The mathematics is actually simple, the demand is high and the production level is not meeting up to demand at the moment, so why wait for later when you can secure your place now.

If you have made up your mind to venture into cocoa farming then there are some things that you have to know. One of which is the history of cocoa farming in Nigeria.

Brief history of cocoa farming in Nigeria

In the nineteenth century, the Portuguese introduced cocoa farming to the Gulf of Guinea. From there, the practice spread to other parts of the continent, Nigeria being one of them. Cultivation of Cocoa began in Nigeria around the 1870s and it started from the Calabar and Bonny areas. Although this was the areas where cocoa cultivation first started in Nigeria, the crop was not doing that great and that was because those areas were not the best for it, this resulted in poor yield.

But the good news was that the practice of cocoa farming kept spreading and by the 1880s it had gotten to the western part of Nigeria. It was not strange to see farms for cocoa in parts of Lagos, Agege and Otta. As cocoa farming kept spreading, people were better understanding the crop and getting to know how to get the best yield, to the point that a lot of the farmers were engaging in cocoa farming in uncultivated forests.

By the 1950s, cocoa farming had indeed flourished and there were mainly two varieties of the cocoa nut available in the country. There was a variety that was imported from Trinidad which was reddish in color, while the second one was imported from the Amazon Basin in Brazil.

This variety gotten from the Amazon Basin in Brazil was usually green and when it gets ripe will turn to yellow. Currently, the largest producers of cocoa in the world are Ivory Coast and Indonesia, while Nigeria comes third on that list.

Although Africa as a continent produces what is actually seen as large amount of cocoa every year, researchers are still of the opinion that it can be better. Nigeria has a lot of potential which can be tapped into with regards to cocoa farming as there are a lot of viable lands for cocoa farming that are just lying waste when they can be put to good use. So if you want to get involved in cocoa farming, you still have ample opportunity to key in. That being said, we will now move on to discuss what you have to do, with regards to setting up your cocoa farm.

What to do in setting up your own cocoa farm

First, you have to select the location of the farm. You cannot just rush into using any available land for your cocoa farming. You have to know the type of land that is best for cocoa farming and use that as a yardstick in selecting the best piece of land for the cocoa farm. Some of the factors that you have to put into consideration in this selection process are the appropriate rainfall and climatic conditions. Of course it also has to be land that you can afford or have the means to purchase.

Also See:  Rice Farming in Nigeria

Another factor you should have in mind is the fact that when cocoa seeds are still at a tender stage, they tend to be very sensitive. Hence they require a great deal of care and nurturing otherwise, they could be easily damaged. This is one of the main reasons why before, cocoa farmers would usually go for uncultivated forests as the forest cover would provide much needed protection for the crops from direct sunrays.

It is important that the crops be shielded from direct sunlight, so have that at the back of your mind when you are selecting land for the farming. Normally, to get the best out of the crops, the area where the farm is situated has to have about 21 to 23 degrees Celsius temperature as well as an average of between 1000 and 2500mm of rainfall every year.

When you are done deciding on the land next thing will be to get your seeds. One of the best places to get your seeds is the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) which is located in Ibadan. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) also carries out extensive research on cocoa farming so they are in the best position to offer you advice on the best way to go about the cocoa cultivation to be able to get the most yields.

You can also get the seeds from the local market, but you have to be sure of the quality of seeds before making the purchase. When you are done selecting the land and purchasing the seeds, the next thing is to actually plant the seeds which is best done at the beginning of the rainy season. This is usually between the months of April and May in most parts of Nigeria.

It is very important that before you go into cocoa farming, you conduct really extensive research to know all there is to know about the process. It will not be a good feeling if you go in blind and end up losing all the money that you have invested in the venture. If you cannot do the research by yourself or you can’t easily access materials then you can ask a professional to really put you through.  How well you prepare before going into cocoa farming is a very huge determinant to whether or not you will be successful at it.

What climatic conditions best suit cocoa farming?

Cocoa is actually recognized as a tropical crop. The crop does very well in climates that are at a minimum 18 to 21 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 31 to 33 degrees Celsius. Some of the largest producers of cocoa are between 10N and 10S of the equator. Also adequate rainfall is required for the crops to do well. Areas that do not have adequate rainfall are not ideal for cocoa farming. For best performance, the area that you choose for the cocoa farming should not have rainfall below 1500mm yearly.

Best soil condition for cocoa production

You have to take this very seriously because if you plant your crops in the wrong soil you will have little to no yield no matter the efforts that you put into it. To avoid wasting your time and energy, you have to ensure that you are making use of the best soil so as to get the best results. The soil that will be good for Cocoa farming needs to be rich in nutrients. It also has to be strong enough to hold trees and the reason for this is not far-fetched.

It is because cocoa is not just a plant, but eventually grows to become a tree. Now imagine if the soil/land that you chose does not have the capacity for the cocoa plants to have a strong root system, you will just have been wasting your time, energy, and resources.

More so, the soil needs to have good water retention capacity in addition to a good drainage system. The reason for this is because cocoa plants are very sensitive to low water supply and if the soil does not have good water retention capacity then you will lose all your crops.

Still on what the best soil for cocoa entails, it needs to be rich in organic matter as well as all the required nutrients for good plant growth and yield. The soil also needs to possess a pH of between 5.0 and 7.5. It should equally contain certain anionic and cationic balances.

In addition the exchangeable bases found in the soil should amount to at least a minimum of 35% of the total cation exchange capacity (CEC). Otherwise, you will have nutritional problems to contend with. Also bear in mind that the recommended total nitrogen to total phosphorus ratio has to be around 1.5 for you to get the best performance from the crop.

The different cocoa varieties available

Criollo is still looked upon as a luxury cocoa while the Forastero cocoa is regarded as an ancestor of all cocoa plants. It is not a surprise that the Forastero cocoa is referred to in this manner as about 80% of the world’s cocoa cultivation has some sort of connection to the Forastero cocoa. One known characteristics of Forastero is that it has a less aromatic cocoa flavour, and in some cases can be considered bitter.

You have a very high probability of finding Forastero in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. And then there is the Trinitario, which is more of a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero. It originated from Trinidad eventually found its way to Papua New Guinea, Java, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Cameroon as well as Ecuador. It tastes great but a bit bitter.

Recognized cocoa breeding methods

Just as we already discussed earlier in the article, cocoa trees can be cultivated by planting seeds. If you take said seeds from under ripe pods, you are on your way to having very good plants.

For tree cuttings, it should be with five leaves and at least two buds. Proceed to cut the leaves in half and then place it in a pot till the roots appear.

Get a bud from a tree and place it under another tree. Remember to wax the budding patch so as not to have moisture loss. You can cut the bud off when it starts growing under the old tree.

There is no doubt that you have seen from this article, that cocoa farming is a really good venture to go into, if you are in the agricultural niche. There is a ready market and once you have good products, selling them off and bagging your profits will not be an issue at all. So if you have the means to, you can key into it and start getting amazing returns.

 

GET YOUR Cocoa Farming / Processing Business Plan / Feasibility Study. To place an order, pay N10,000 to

GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183

After payment text your name, your e-mail address and payment details to 08060565721.

 

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