How to Start Cocoa Farming Business

Cocoa farm is one of the farm in Agriculture that provides Nigeria with foreign export. Cocoa Farming is very lucrative and relatively easy. 


What You Should Know About Cocoa Farming 

The potentials of cocoa farming in Nigeria should never be underestimated. Before the oil boom, cocoa was one of the country’s main source of foreign exchange.  It was exported to other West African countries and other parts of the world.

Following the arrival of oil cocoa farming in Nigeria dwindled as people, and the government, became more interested in oil. As a result, the country’s finances were focused in that direction.

Despite this, the market still holds a lot of promise for Africa’s most populous nation. That is why at the moment, the federal government is trying to make people more interested in cocoa farming. Programs have been put in place to ensure it’s easier to practice cocoa farming in Nigeria and the populace is responding, slowly.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to gain in cocoa farming in Nigeria. This is because it has a very huge market as serves as a raw material in many products. Cocoa is one of the hottest agricultural products in the world market. Chocolate won’t be on the shelves at stores without cocoa seeds. Furthermore, many confectionery and beverage making firms will shut down or go out of business if cocoa farmers stop farming.

Here’s one good thing- cocoa trees are planted once and you can harvest it throughout your lifetime and still pass it to your children and grand-children. You only need to plant it once and that’s all. All you have to do thereafter is take care of your cocoa plantation, and make some cool cash.


So, you’re wondering – how can I partake in this burgeoning business? How can I start a coca farm in Nigeria?

Do not worry, the steps are super simple!

Here are the steps to setting up a Cocoa Farm

1.Locate Your Cocoa Farm



The first thing you need to do when you want to be a cocoa farmer is to select where you want to setup your plantation.

You need to choose somewhere with the appropriate climate conditions- a good steady rainfall supply and a consistent temperature of between 21 to 32 degrees Celsius all year round.

If you’re planning to establish a cocoa farm in Kano, Kaduna or Abuja, you’ll fail. Cocoa farms only survive in states like Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Cross River, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Imo, and other states without too much rain or sunshine.

2.Land Preparation


This goes without saying. You need to locate a large expanse of land on which to setup your cocoa plantation.

Cocoa trees need a deep, slightly acidic, moist soil to flourish. The soil should also contain coarse particles and have a depth of around 1.5 metres. This is so the plants can develop a good root system.

3.Choose The Variety of Cocoa you Want to Plant


Before 1950, only two types of cocoa were planted in Nigeria – Amelonado and Trinitario varieties. However there are more varieties nowadays, each with its own pros and cons.

Cirillo

This variety is regarded as one of the finest and luxurious breed of cocoa. It was very popular in the 18th century but nowadays only a handful of pure Criollo trees remain and Nigeria has a small share.

The seed is mildly acidic and almost never bitter. It also has a mild cocoa taste with striking secondary tastes of fruits, tobacco and nuts. It is however susceptible to pests and fungal diseases than other varieties. It also has smaller yields when compared to the others. To top things off, it is the most expensive cocoa breed.

Forastero


This is the most popular cocoa breed at the moment and accounts for more than 80 percent of global cocoa cultivation. It is considered as the forefather of all cocoa varieties and delivers very good harvests. It isn’t as aromatic as Criollo and usually tastes bitter and/or acidic. It has a hard and rough back and is the dominant breed planted in Nigeria.

There are many subspecies of Forastero: Amelonado, Cundeamor and Calabacillo, to name a few. But Amelonado cocoa is the most extensively planted cocoa of all.

Trinitario


This breed was gotten by crossing the Criollos and Forasteros breeds. It combines the robustness of the Forastero with the powerful aromatic cocoa taste of the Criollo.

So, choose the variety of cocoa you intend to plant.

4.Plant at the Right Time


You have to plant your cocoa at the right time.

Cocoa nursery is usually done between the months of October and January, while field transplanting is done between April and June.

After planting, the seeds usually yield their first crop between three and five years. However, some cocoa hybrid varieties can yield crops within two and three years.

5.Breed Your Cocoa


This is the cocoa planting process. It is the journey from stalk to tree.

Actually, there are different ways to breed a cocoa tree. The most commonly used method is seeding.

Seeding


This is the planting of cocoa trees from the seeds.

Cocoa beans are taken from their pods within 15 days after they have been harvested and planted. Soil and climatic conditions required have to be adhered to. The seeds will then germinate and produce good plants.

Budding


This type of breeding isn’t common. Here, a bud is cut from a matured preferred tree and placed under a flap of
bark of another tree.

This bud is bound with raffia and waxed tape of clear plastic to prevent loss of moisture. When the bud begins to grow, the old tree above it can be cut off and discarded. Then you have your cocoa tree.

Cutting


In this method, the farmer takes cocoa tree cuttings with an average of three and four leaves and one or two buds.

He then cuts the leaves in half and places the cutting in a pot under polythene until roots begin to grow.

When the plants start growing, he transplants it to the farm.

Marcotting


In this method, the farmer takes away a strip of bark from a branch. He then covers the area with sawdust and a polythene sheet.

After some time, this area will grow roots. When this happens, the branch can then be chopped off and replanted in the farm.


6.Take Good Care of Your cocoa trees


After planting, all you need is to take care of plantation.

Cocoa farming needs a constant watching out for diseases and rodents/pests. You have to constantly take protective and preventive measures to ensure your plants survive.

Cocoa farming has more pros than cons. However, it rests on your to make a success of your farm. You must be ready to go the distance, put in hard work, and educate yourself on best practices to run this farm successfully.

Cocoa Farming in Africa presents one of the brightest investment opportunity to local and foreign investors in agribusiness in this region. Cocoa has been and will remain one of the fastest selling agricultural product in both local and international market. Once you have it planted and nurtured to maturity, you harvest cash from it for many decades. The reason is because cocoa is a perennial crop that survive produce for many decades.

Ivory Coast and Indonesia are the world’s biggest cocoa producers, follow by Nigeria, while Ghana is in distant forth position. But one thing special about cocoa farming business in Africa is that the potentials in this sector is massively under utilized. There are thousands of acres of fertile lands in South West and South South Nigeria that are suitable for cocoa farming but currently wasting away. Cocoa was the mainstay of Nigerian economy before the oil boom. The moment oil was discovered, cocoa farming was abandoned, leaving the opportunity for any would-be serious farmer to exploit.

According to news report, Nigeria recently gave over 10,000 Hectares of fertile farm land to Indonesia for Cocoa and Oil-Palm Production while you are there pursuing useless jobs that doesn’t exist.The consequence is that Indonesian farmers will produce cocoa from the land, export it oversea, sell in dollars and repatriate the fund back to their country.

Opportunities In Cocoa Farming In Africa

A bag of Cocoa is currently sold for $200 (N38,000 in Nigeria) and about the same price in Ivory Coast and Ghana. If you have 1,000 bags of cocoa right now, you can easily swap it with $200,000 (N38,000,000) cash!

To achieve this, you can count on the early-maturing, high-yielding, disease-resistant beans to help double your farm production in two years. This varieties of cocoa plants mature in about 18 months. If you are in Nigeria, you can get the variety from the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria. While the traditional cocoa crop takes about four to five years to mature, the improved variety takes just one and half years.

The new varieties produce 1 1/2 metric tons of cocoa per hectare (2.47 acres) each season compared with the older types which yield 1/2 ton. South Africans are now killing foreigners in their land who came for greener pasture. In Malaysia, you could be framed up, accused of drug offenses and get sentenced to death for doing nothing just because you are a stranger.

In the United States of America and UK, you could make all the money but end up paying everything back to the Government for taxation. Why not look for opportunity in your own country and develop it? Cocoa farming is one of such opportunities in many West African countries. Ghanians and Nigerians are returning home to Start Commercial Farming in Cocoa, Oil-Palm, Charcoal export, etc. You should be one of them. If you are a foreign investor, the opportunity for cocoa farming in Africa is also open to you.

You shouldn’t be caught making excuses that the economy is bad. As a matter of Fact, the city is too crowded, There’s much space to be occupied in the Rural Areas. Join the Farming Train and Start Making your money while you contribute to your country’s GDP.


7.Marketing  Of Cocoa Produce


Marketing of Cocoa is extremely fast and easy. Cocoa is probably the only farm produce you can market in just one day no matter the quantity you have. This is because the whole world depends on Cocoa for it’s daily foods and beverages need.

You don’t have to worry about marketing, all you need is to have your own farm, start producing cocoa, and watch the market come after you. This gives you an edge in Cocoa Farming business. Once you have worked hard to setup your farm, nurture your cocoa to the point of production within two years, you just sit back and start reaping your harvest year after year for at least 30 years.

In Nigeria, We are not producing enough Cocoa. There is a need for more participation in cocoa farming in Africa. Proper Management is also needed to get the best yield.

There are people who make millions of dollars in Cocoa without owning a farm, you can become one of them too. Cocoa Dealers or Cocoa Agents make money by buying the cocoa beans from the farmers and selling directly to the Confectionery and Beverage companies. The business is equally available for Companies that wants to go into Cocoa Marketing, Distribution, and Exportation.

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If you need a comprehensive guide to starting a cocoa farming business, feel free to contact us.

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How to Start Cocoa Farming Business How to Start Cocoa Farming Business Reviewed by Godwin Akpan on November 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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