WorldStage Newsonline– The Federal Government of Nigeria has said the country will produce 800 million Metric Tonnes of cocoa with the market value of $80 billion in 2015.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Adesina who disclosed this when he visited Nestle Nigeria’s factory at Agbara Industrial Estate, Ogun State, said the federal government will partner with the company and other firms to produce high energy foods.
In a statement in Abuja by the ministry’s Director of Information and Protocol, Tony Ohaeri, the minister noted that the government was focusing on private sector led agriculture to ensure food security.
Dr. Adesina said the ministry was working on bio-fortification of special cassava variety that has Vitamin A, adding that the government was committed to producing nutritious food.
He disclosed that one million metric tonnes of sorghum would be produced annually
The minister urged cocoa farmers not to only export the produce but to also think of processing it so as to add value.
Dr. Adesina said that the value chains were designed to address the challenges in agriculture with a view to make the sector “money spinner” in Nigeria.
The minister urged the company to patronize Nigerian farmers with a view to creating markets for their produce.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, stressed the need for government and the private sector to work collaboratively.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said that Nigeria is expected to generate $1.5 billion from cocoa exports in 2014.
Adesina who disclosed this recently in his paper entitled, “Nigeria’s High Growth, Low Development Gap: Harnessing the Untapped Potential of Agriculture for Inclusive Growth,” at the first Convocation Ceremony of the Land Mark University, Aran, Kwara State, said that foreign exchange earning from Nigeria’s cocoa exports had grown from $900 million in 2012 to $1.2 billion in 2013.
According to him, the cocoa revolution in Nigeria is receiving global attention as Hershey, one of the largest chocolate companies in the world, has invested $20 million to procure cocoa from over 20,000 certified cocoa farmers in the country.
He said Nigeria has also launched into local manufacturing of Nigerian chocolates through a strategic partnership with a US-based company, the first of such in the manufacturing history of the country.
Adesina said, “we are revamping our cocoa plantations, replacing old trees with high yielding cocoa hybrids that give farmers five times the yields they currently obtain. Over the past two years, we have distributed 1.1 million pods or 39 million seedlings, free of charge to farmers, enough to plant 40,000ha of new cocoa fields.
“We are working hard to drastically mechanise our agriculture from reliance on hoes and cutlasses. Hoes and cutlasses are for museums not for modern agriculture. To allow farmers to acquire and or lease modern mechanised machinery, we have launched 600 agricultural equipment hiring enterprises run by the private sector to provide full complements of tractors and pre- and post-harvest machinery to farmers,” he added.
The minister explained that farmers would be provided subsidised mechanised services via electronic vouchers on their mobile phones, for mechanisation support, to allow them to hire agricultural machinery from private sector operators. He said these centers would create employment for agricultural engineers, as operators, managers or owners of agricultural mechanisation centers. [Source: DAILY SUN]
Cocoa is a very important cash crop in Ghana and is one of the main contributors to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. But like other crops, it is also plagued by various diseases and pests.
The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) is called Tafo Cocoa Station when it was established in 1938 and later changed its name to the West African Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI) in 1944. It has mandate of conducting research to facilitate improved production of disease-free or disease-resistant cocoa, not only in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) but also in other West African countries which were under British rule, including Nigeria.
However, various countries later established their own research institutions after they gained independence and Ghana renamed WACRI as the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).
The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) was established in Ibadan, Oyo State, on December 1, 1964, as a successor autonomous research organisation to the Nigerian substation of the defunct West African Cocoa Research Institute (WACRI).
According to the Executive Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Dr Franklin Amoah, the institute was established in 1938 after a farmer observed some unusual symptoms on his cocoa tree as a result of diseases, particularly the swollen shoot disease in 1936.
The institute was established to look into the case and other diseases and pests problems that came up. It later became a centre for research for post-graduate students from different countries.
Amoah said when it comes to research on Cocoa, Ghana and Nigeria have many things in common, adding: “The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria was formerly a substation of our institute until after independence when they decided to be autonomous.
“But since then we have had a lot of collaboration and share a lot of things, including research findings. Virtually every year I travel to Ukraine where I collaborate with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria,” he told media fellows of the Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) when they visited the institute in Tafo, Ghana in April.
He said the diseases and pests of cocoa are major problems but the research institute has been doing its best to keep the disease and pests under control, adding that the two major diseases that affect cocoa are the swollen shoot disease and black pod disease.
“As at now, we are managing the swollen shoot disease, we have not found any major cure for it. It is a viral disease. As I speak over two million cocoa trees have been removed, eradicated, cut out and replanted while the breeders are also trying to develop materials which are very resistant or tolerant to the disease.
“We are also putting other agronomic practices to ensure that the spread of the disease is minimised. We have what we call the barrier cropping where core plot of cocoa is surrounded by two or three lines of non host plants.”
He said the swollen shoot is a major cocoa disease in Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, adding that the symptoms vary with environmental conditions. The symptoms include the swelling of the root or stem, leaf discolouration and death of the trees, thus, affecting crop yields.
The executive director said the institute collaborated with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, and cloned some cocoa materials which have promising signs of resistance to the swollen shoot disease.
Amoah said breeders are also working hard to come up with materials that are tolerant to black pod disease, saying the disease can destroy a farm within a short time.
He said eradication of the disease can be done by farm sanitation coupled with applying chemicals on the farm, adding that the institute tries to avoid using of chemicals, considering the farmers health and the crops. In addition, it also avoids use of pesticides except those recommended for controlling pests.
He added that the institute has been the farmer’s friend and major pillar in planting cocoa as they are benefitting from the institute’s research, especially through the farmers’ newspaper it publishes regularly to enlighten them.
Explaining the functions of various sections of the research institute, the Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Adasi Brobbey said: “There is an agronomy division which helps farmers establish and maintain their farms and guides them on how to plant, among others. There is the plant pathology division which looks at the diseases of cocoa. There is also the entomology division which looks at pest –insect control.
“Then there is the physiology biochemistry division which looks at plant intake of water, nutrient and fermentation of cocoa. As we know the first cocoa has no chocolate quality. It is after fermentation and drying that you get chocolate. Then we have the plant breeding division which looks at the varieties of cocoa that we have in Ghana.”
He said the Amelonado, is the first type of cocoa brought into Ghana and has good seed, however, it has a long gestation period of eight years, (that is from when you plant to when you harvest). He said the researchers in 1944 now replaced it with the type called Amazon, which begins bearing fruit at about four years.
He said another variety called the Trinitario was brought from Trinidad and Tobago and takes about five years to mature. However, it is susceptible to the black pod disease.
He said the scientists carried out research and came up with the variety called the hybrid cocoa which is the combination of the Amelonado and Amazon and is the variety presently supplied to the farmers.
Brobbey said the hybrids take a very short time to mature with some maturing as early as 18 months and it has the best disease resistance.
He said there are other types or varieties of cocoa which are of no economic importance to Ghana, adding that there are also two sub-divisions which used to meet with farmers and help organise radio talk shows for them.
Aside cocoa, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) now also carries out research on coffee, cashew and shea butter. It has a shop where products made from these crops and cocoa like biscuits, wine, beverage vinegar, soaps jam and creams, among others, are made and sold. [SOURCE: DAILY TRUST]