Nigeria Targets Cocoa Output of 500,000 Tons in 2014-15 Season

Nigeria plans to boost its cocoa output by more than 40 percent to 500,000 metric tons in the 2014-15 season, Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina said.

The West African nation sees local grinding of cocoa beans rising to 25 percent of output in the same period from about 10 percent, Adesina told a cocoa conference today in the capital, Abuja.

More than 1.4 million seedlings of a hybrid cocoa that matures in two and a half years, compared with five years for older varieties, have been distributed in recent years to farmers and are forecast to begin yielding from next year, according to Adesina. “We have set clear targets for 2015,” he said.

Nigeria is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of cocoa after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia. Nigeria produced 350,000 tons of cocoa in the 2013-2014 season, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Most of the country’s output is by farmers working on small plots in the country’s southern cocoa belt.

Africa’s biggest economy expects 250,000 farmers to benefit from government efforts to boost output capacity, creating 390,000 jobs and taking Nigeria’s production to more than 1 million tons within 10 years, according to Adesina.

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