Cross River State plans to expand land under cocoa cultivation by a third in the current season and revamp old farms in a bid to double output, the commissioner for agriculture, Egrinya Eneji, said Friday in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg.
According to Eneji:
“We intend to bring about 4,000 hectares of previously unplanted areas into cocoa cultivation. We intend to introduce the most modern cocoa hybrids capable of yields of 2 metric tons per hectare.”
Government-owned estates account for about 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres) of existing cocoa farms in Cross River, while small-holder farmers cultivate another 4,000 hectares around the cocoa-trading town of Ikom, according to Eneji.
Farmers will receive 5 million cocoa seedlings to cultivate new farms and revamp old ones at the start of the planting season in March, he said.
Cross River state is located on the southeastern of Nigeria border with Cameroon and accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s cocoa. Only the southwestern region of Nigeria does better, producing about 60 percent.
Nigeria is the world’s number four cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia. Its 2013-14 season output is estimated to be 350,000 tons.