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January 04, 2024 - BY Admin

Starting a cocoa farm in Nigeria

One of the best economic opportunities in agriculture is cocoa cultivation. The worldwide demand for cocoa seeds is very high, and farmers are encouraged by the price on the international market. You are well aware of the uses for cocoa. Without the cocoa seeds, there won’t be any chocolate on the shelves. If cocoa farmers discontinue farming, Confectionery and beverage manufacturing enterprises will go out of business.


Cocoa trees are planted once and harvested throughout your lifetime, and then passed on to the following generation. One of the most popular agricultural products on the market everywhere in the world are cocoa beans. If you’ve ever visited a cocoa farm, you know how breathtakingly beautiful it can be. It’s probably one of the best places to get closer to nature.


Establishing a cocoa farm


Choose a vast area of forest land with a suitable climate and amount of rainfall. If not managed properly, cocoa Seedlings are extremely delicate and can quickly perish. The best spot to grow Cocoa is beneath the forest canopy. The canopy of a rain forest must be present on the land you plan to use for cocoa farming. The trees require consistent rainfall of 1000–2500 mm annually with temperatures between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius.


Purchase quality and enhanced cocoa from a trustworthy source. A nice site to get the cocoa variety and receive some guidance is the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. You might even buy the cocoa seeds directly from a seasoned cocoa farmer if you’re willing to take a chance.


At the start of the rainy season, clear the forest and sow the cocoa seeds. The best time to grow cocoa is between April and May, when the rainy season is just beginning.


Climate Conditions for Growing Cocoa 


Countries between 10 degrees N and 10 degrees S of the equator, where the temperature is suitable for the growth of cocoa trees produce cocoa. Ghana, Indonesia, and the Ivory Coast are the top three producers.


The lowest tier of the evergreen rainforest is the cocoa tree’s natural environment and climatic elements, particularly Temperature and rainfall are significant in promoting optimum growth.


With a maximum yearly average temperature of 30–32 °C and a low average of 18–21 °C, cocoa plants do well in rather high temperatures.

Rainfall has a greater impact on cocoa tree production variations from year to year than any other meteorological component. A lack of water in the soil affects trees quite negatively. The Annual rainfall should be substantial and evenly distributed. It is generally It is desirable to have yearly rainfall levels of between 1,500 and 2,000mm. Dry spells with fewer than 100mm of rain per month shouldn’t last longer than three months.


For cocoa plants to grow as well as they can, a A hot, humid environment is required. Relative humidity is typically high in cocoa-producing nations, frequently exceeding 100% during the day and dropping to 70–80% at night.

The cocoa tree, which is typically grown in shade, will make the best use of any light that is available. It’s normal.


Soil Quality and Property 


For a healthy root system to develop, cocoa requires soil that is 1.5 metres deep, has coarse particles, and has a reasonable amount of minerals. It is preferable to avoid impermeable materials below that level so that extra water can drain away. Cocoa can endure short-term waterlogging, but excess water shouldn’t persist. The soil must have both water retention qualities and efficient drainage because the cocoa tree is sensitive to a lack of water.


Given that the plant has a vast number of roots, that are used to absorb nutrients, the topsoil’s chemical composition is of utmost importance. In soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5, cocoa can thrive. Hence, it can handle both.


Acidic soils don’t harm cocoa as long as The nutrient content is high enough. 3.5% of organic matter should be present in the top 15 centimetres of the soil, which is a high level for the soil. There are specific anionic and cationic balances required for cocoa soils. Nutritional issues are expected if the exchangeable bases in the soil do not make up at least 35% of the total cation exchange capacity (CEC). The ideal The ratio of total nitrogen to total phosphorus should be close to 1.5.


Appropriate Cocoa Varieties 


Criollos: Up until the middle of the In the eighteenth century, Criollos dominated the market, but today there are very few, if any, genuine Criollo trees left. The finest of the high-end cocoas is criollo. It has a light cocoa flavor, is barely bitter and is only mildly acidic. and has distinct secondary scents and hints of nuts, caramel, forest fruits, and smoke. The criollo plant generates smaller yields and is thus more expensive fruits since it is more vulnerable to fungal disease and other pests.


Forastero: This cocoa variety, which is regarded as the ancestor of all cocoa kinds, produces excellent harvests because of its hardiness. Around 80% of the world’s cocoa is grown in this region. Forastero is known for its powerful, less fragrant chocolate flavor. which can occasionally be acidic or bitter. The back appears harsh and rough and is widely available in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Trinitario: Despite deriving from a Criollo-Forastero cross, the Trinitario people are thought to be Forasteros.Planting of Trinidadian trees began in Trinidad and then extended to Venezuela, Ecuador, Cameroon, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Java, and Papua New Guinea.


Trinitario blends the robustness of everyday cocoa with the savoury flavours of high-end cacao. Trinitario cocoa is just somewhat acidic and has a strong, aromatic cocoa flavor.


Techniques for breeding cocoa 


Seeds are used to grow cocoa. If seeds are extracted from pods that are no more than 15 days underripe, they will germinate and produce healthy plants.


Cutting: Tree cuttings are collected when they have one to two buds and between two and five leaves. After the leaves are divided in half, and the cutting is put in a container with polyethylene until the roots start to form.


Budding: is the process of planting a tree bud under the bark of another tree. To stop moisture loss, raffia and Waxed plastic tape is used to bind the growing patch. The old tree above the bud is removed as it grows.


Marcotting is the process of removing a strip of bark from a branch and covering the exposed region with sawdust and a polyethylene sheet. After the area forms roots, the branch can be severed and planted.