The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Sabo Nanono has revealed that the federal government generated over US$313 million from the sale of cocoa in the last three decades.
Nanono said plans are ongoing to boost the nation’s local capacity to become one of the largest cocoa producers in the world in the future. This after it was observed that the country lost its leadership position in terms of cocoa production to the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia.
The minister attributed the decline in production to bad weather, old trees that have not been rehabilitated, lack of improved seedlings, poor quality due to pest infestation and pesticide contamination, among others.
“Cocoa production is on the front burner of the government despite the economic downturn the world has been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are however implementing availability of cocoa seedlings and pods to farmers to ensure food security,” Nanono said.
The ministry has so far distributed over 300,000 improved hybrid cocoa seedlings in the South-West, South-South, North- Central and South-Eastern parts of the country coupled with herbicides, pesticides and solo pumps to jerk up cocoa production from the present level of 25,000 metric tons to 350,000 metric tonnes per annum. The hybrid seedlings being provided to cocoa farmers have the capacity of fruiting in two-and-a-half to three years.
Meanwhile, he said the agricultural sector contributed 3.3% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in one year, being one of the best sector after the services and financial sectors of the economy.