Cocoa farming remains inarguably one of the best agric-business in Nigeria. Cocoa farming and exportation used to be crude oil of Nigeria during the early days of independence.
Cocoa farming remains a lucrative venture in Nigeria because of its high demand by production and manufacturing companies within and outside Nigeria.
To start a cocoa farming business in Nigeria, you must prepare by planning, get farmland, prepare the Farmland, select suitable cocoa seed, plant, /and harvesting, and so on.
How To Start Cocoa Farming In Nigeria Step By Step Guide
You are making a promising decision by taking a step toward becoming a cocoa farmer. Even though you will have to commit resources and time to the venture, in the long run, it is worth it.
To begin with, we have discussed the steps extensively to start cocoa farming in Nigeria.
Step 1: Prepare by Planning
I believe planning should come first regardless of the business enterprise you intend to venture in. you can even prepare a business plan if possible. You will need to consider the magnitude of the cocoa farm you want to begin with.
Also, this is the stage where you make your budgets. If you don’t have a sufficient budget, take steps to acquire one if necessary.
Suppose you have a good plan in place. In that case, it will be easy for you to have a guide to follow, a marketing strategy, and insight into the financial implication of cocoa farming.
Step 2: Get farmland.
Once you have prepared your plans, you are ready to embark on a cocoa farming enterprise. The next step is to get farmland where your cocoa plantation will be.
In Nigeria, there are different methods you can employ to get farmland. You can purchase land if you have the money or rent. However, it is best to buy the farmland because cocoa trees produce continuously for many years.
Also, when choosing farmland for cocoa farming, you need to consider a location with steady rainfall and a temperature is at a maximum of 32 degrees.
Step 3: Prepare the Farmland
The following steps are to be taken to prepare the farmland to be fit for farming.
Clear the Farmland
You must clear the farmland and remove native plants, to make the area fit for farming. When clearing the land, you need to consider the density of soil cover and soil type to help conserve topsoil.
When clearing land for cocoa farming, remember that cocoa doesn’t thrive under extreme sunlight and grows poorly under heavy shadows.
During the land clearing stage, you should leave smaller forest trees about 4-meters apart that will serve as covers for cocoa seedlings because cocoa plants prefer to be under forest trees or other crops for shelter from direct light.
Clean and Burn the weeds.
Gather the uprooted unwanted plants together and burn or find any other means of the disposal so that the land can be clean and ready for agricultural activities.
Level the Farmland
Furthering the preparation activities of the farmland is to level the farmland. Cocoa plants grow better when the farmland is leveled and void of bumps and holes. Also, the land will always be evenly irrigated due to the leveled land.
Fumigate the Farmland
Fumigant application comes next as you continue to prepare your farmland. You should apply herbicides to control the growth of unwanted plants and pest and disease infestation.
Step 4: Select Suitable Cocoa Seed
Seed selection is an important process in cocoa farming. Selecting quality seeds will lead to a high yield. There are different cocoa seed varieties available in the market. It would be best if you chose suitable seeds with the right conditions for cultivation and, most importantly, give you a reasonable yield.
It is advisable to go for hybrid seeds that have been treated and can resist pest and disease infestation as well as give you a reasonable yield. Some suitable cocoa seed are criollo, forastero, and trinitario.
Step 5: Planting
Unlike other plants, Nigeria uses different methods to plant cocoa seeds. They are:
Planting cocoa seedlings is a common method. This involves planting seeds inside the soil under a conducive climate that will help the seed germinate.
To plant the seed, you have to open a hole on the leveled ground and place the seed vertically, root end down inside the hole. Cover with dirt to just above the seed’s top.
This process, also known as grafting, involves cutting the bud of the cocoa tree and placed under a flap of bark on another tree. To prevent soil moisture loss, the budding patch is bound and covered with clear plastic.
The tree on which the cocoa bud is grafted will be cut off once the bud is growing,
Vegetative Propagation, commonly known as cutting, is another method of planting cocoa seeds. Here, a tree cutting with at least two to three leaves and one or two buds should be placed in a pot and covered with plastic so it can germinate and develop roots.
The germinated plant can then be transplanted on the prepared farmland.
Budding and vegetative propagation allow farmers to choose the quality cocoa plant they want and reduce expenses related to sourcing cocoa trees.
Step 6: Weeding / Pest and Disease Control
After you plant your cocoa seedlings or plant through any of the above methods, you don’t go to rest or relax. It would be best if you protected the plants from their young germination age to full-grown trees from extreme weather. Also, watch out for signs of pests and diseases to tackle them by fumigating the farm.
Also, you have to weed the farm if necessary to eliminate unwanted plants competing with the cocoa tree.
Step 7: Fertilizer Application
You have to apply fertilizer to your farmland so your cocoa tree can grow adequately. Fertilizer application will help boost soil nutrients that will, in turn, improve the healthiness of the plant and as well help combat pests and diseases.
Step 8: Harvesting
The final step is to harvest your cocoa products which are the cocoa pods that contain the ripe beans. However, you will need patience because it takes three to five years for a cocoa tree to grow into a fruiting tree.
The pods grow on the trunk or branches of the tree. You will use a long-handled stick tool to reach the ripe pods, which are often yellowish or greenish-yellowish in color, and cut them down.
Note that all the pods do not ripen simultaneously, so you will have to harvest at intervals.
Step 9: Fermentation and Drying
This is an important post-harvest activity where you will cut open the cocoa pods to extract the beans, which are then kept in boxes and covered for up to seven days. The fermented beans are then dried in the sun and ready to be sold.
How Do I Start A Cocoa Farming Business In Nigeria?
As you know, this material is a step-by-step guide to cocoa farming in Nigeria. Make sure you read through the guide from beginning to the end to get all the necessary information.
How Do You Start A Cocoa Farm?
The steps required how to start a cocoa farm have been discussed above. Ensure you read through and follow the steps accordingly from beginning to end.
The steps include planning, getting farmland, preparing the farmland, clearing the farmland, cleaning and burning the weeds, leveling the farmland, fumigating the farmland, selecting suitable cocoa seed, planting, weeding/pest and disease control, fertilizer application, harvesting, and fermentation and drying.
How Many Years Does It Take To Harvest Cocoa?
Growing cocoa fruits takes time, and you need a lot of patience because it takes about four to five years for a cocoa tree to mature and produce fruit.
How Much is Cocoa Per Acre?
Per acre of land, there are likely to be 400 and 500 cocoa trees.
How Many Bags of Cocoa Can an Acre of Land Produce?
The number of bags you can get from an acre of land where about 400 to 500 cocoa trees have been successfully grown is 25 bags.
Is Cocoa Business Profitable in Nigeria?
The cocoa business has for many decades remained a profitable enterprise in Nigeria. The business guarantees a large harvest with little demand. However, the starting phase can seem daunting but profitable in the end, promising a global market on standby to purchase.
Which State is the Largest Producer of Cocoa in Nigeria?
The state of Ondo in the southwestern region of Nigeria is the largest producing cocoa state. The state produces about 25% of total national production from 14 producing states.
How Much is Cocoa in Nigeria?
Currently, the market price of cocoa in Nigeria is estimated to be 40,000 Naira per metric ton.
Which Town is Cocoa Found in Nigeria?
Cocoa is predominantly grown in fourteen states in Nigeria. They are Ekiti, Ondo, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Osun, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Kwara, Taraba, Nasarawa, and Oyo.
Where can I get cocoa in Nigeria?
You can get cocoa in the fourteen major producing states earlier mentioned. However, you can get cocoa in any marketplace or purchase it online via eCommerce.
How Many Times Does Cocoa Produce in a Year?
The cocoa tree is likely to yield several times a year. However, in Nigeria, there are two peak production periods per year. There is the main harvest, the cocoa production season, and a smaller harvest where not all of the cocoa trees produce in mass.
From our discussion, it is evident that cocoa farming is profitable. Although the sound of it may seem difficult, the beginning is tough if you venture into it. Still, it remains a promising venture in that you can make profits.