Cocoa Farming in Nigeria
The basis of writing this post, is to enlighten you about the opportunities in cocoa production business.
Introduction & a Brief History of Cocoa Farming in Nigeria
Cocoa Farming was one of the major mainstay of Nigerian economy before the oil boom in Nigeria, cocoa, was one of our major cash crops exports. Nigeria was then the biggest exporter of cocoa in Africa and ranked amongst the top exporters in the world.
Then came the oil boom, and the agricultural sector was abandoned and poor agricultural management became the standard of Cocoa farming, along with other cash crop farming, took a back seat to accommodate oil exploration.
Nigeria quickly lost her international market to countries such as Indonesia and Cote D’Ivoire.
Discerning Nigerian farmers are now returning to the cultivation of cocoa on an industrial scale. However, the wealth seed production as it is fondly called, is still under-exploited, as global demand still surpasses supply by a wide margin. And while cocoa is not the easiest of crops to manage, farmers with the requisite knowledge, enthusiasm and patience to run and manage cocoa farms can benefit in the long run, and become the new crop of God-made millionaires.
The Top 10 Cocoa Producing Countries in the World
In the past, Nigeria topped the list of 10 most influential cocoa producing countries. She lost her position as a result of the oil boom and exploration. In recent times however, Nigeria has taken up cocoa production again, and currently ranks as the world’s fourth major cocoa producer.
According to the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nigeria ranks behind Cote D’Ivoire (1st), Ghana (2nd) and Indonesia (3rd).
Together, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote D’Ivoire supply more than two -thirds of the world’s cocoa.
The top 10 cocoa producing countries in the world (as of today) are;
Top Cocoa Producing States in Nigeria
The top cocoa producing states in Nigeria include;
Cross River state
Akwa Ibom state
Cocoa Seed and Tree
The botanical name for cocoa is theobroma cacao. It is a small perennial tree crop that primarily comes from three tropical regions; West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. It usually ranges in height between four and eight metres.
While cocoa is a tropical crop, it doesn’t do too well in the sun and is usually cultivated in the shade of other crops such as oil palm, rubber and banana, and/or in the shades of fruit trees such as breadfruit, guava, avocado, mango, coconut and orange.
The cocoa fruit is an egg-shaped pod, and is usually coloured red, yellow or brown. It typically contains between thirty and forty seeds, each of which is surrounded by a bitter-sweet white pulp. When cocoa seeds are dried and fermented in the sun they are brownish red, and are known as cocoa beans/seeds.
Uses of the Cocoa Products
Cocoa seed is used for chocolate which is one of the best known product of the cocoa seed. The first recorded evidence of chocolate as a food product goes back the Mayans and Aztecs who made a drink from the beans of the cocoa tree. Chocolate was known as a beverage until the nineteenth Century when “eating chocolate” became a reality.
Another well-known product of the cocoa seed is cocoa powder, used as an ingredient in almost any foodstuff. It is used in chocolate flavoured drinks and desserts such as ice cream. It is also used for chocolate spreads and sauces, and cakes and biscuits as well.
Cocoa seed is also used to produce cocoa butter; used extensively for cosmetic products such as moisturising soaps and creams. Cocoa seed is also used to manufacture cocoa liquor, jam and marmalade.
Fresh cocoa pulp juice is often used in the production of soft drinks and alcohol.
The crushed shells or pod husks of cocoa beans can serve as organic fertiliser, as natural deterrents to weeds, which is also used to minimise erosion.
When pelletised, the husk can also be used as animal feed, while potash from the husk can be used for soft soap manufacturing.
Cocoa Farming in Nigeria(Why)
In Nigeria today, Cocoa farming presents one of the best investment opportunities to local investors in agribusiness, as cocoa remains one of the fastest selling agricultural products in the global market.
Definitely you cannot compare the turn over (profit) on cocoa with other agriculture business like vegetables farming and Nigeria has enough land for cocoa than for rice farming
Since the international demand for cocoa produce is high, it makes simple business sense to get into a business where demand greatly surpasses supply, as it means that every product cultivated has a ready market.
Another reason for cocoa farming in Nigeria is because it is a perennial crop that can survive for many decades, which is one major advantage it has over other Agriproducts. Once planted and nurtured to maturity, farmers can harvest from a cocoa tree for many years.
Cocoa plantation can last over 40 years and even more. One can make money from cocoa farm for a lifetime.
While initial cultivation can be a hassle, once mature, cocoa trees could be a source of income for the farmer for 5 decades or more.