As part of government efforts to increase food production, the Federal Government at the weekend said cocoa transformation action plan would double output from 500,000 metric tons to one million MT by 2015.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, revealed this in Abuja, at a meeting with Commissioners of nine cocoa producing States.
In terms of productivity, Adesina observed that cocoa national average was 350 to 500kg/ha, therefore the production was not efficient and profitable, stating that a number of factors were responsible for low productivity which include, old age of tree stocks, low yield potentials of unselected materials planted, diseases and pests.
He said:”Although more than 800,000 ha land area was actively under cocoa in the 1970s, some 150,000 ha had been abandoned. Record showed that more than three million hectares are suitable, less than one-quarter is put to cocoa production, however the cocoa transformation action plan will double national output from 500,000MT to one millionMT by 2015 to increase farm productivity.”
In the maintenance strategy, the minister said farmers tending the 640,000 ha active plantations would receive Growth Enhancement Support within budget limit, agrochemicals will also be provided for 25,000 farmers to cover the full six regimes of fungicide.
Speaking further on expansion, he said that new 162,460 ha plantation would be opened up by 2015 in partnership with States and the private sector, noting that new plantations have been proposed for establishment and that expansion would be based on the area under cultivation and potentials of available land. in cocoa growing States.
“The State Governments have a great role to play in the rehabilitation and expansion strategies because they provide the land and benign environment for investors to embark on plantation establishment. This is a strong assumption which must hold for the rehabilitation and expansion strategy to work.” Adesina said.