Cocoa farming is capital intensive, it will require a lot of capital and patience. Does that scare you? If yes do not go into it but if no you are welcome to one of the most profitable agric businesses in Nigeria.
The profitability of cocoa farming is not what need to be argue about, the evidence could heard from the mouth of old people who regard cocoa as luxury product that only few are lucky to cultivate, well about cocoa cultivation; it was an herculean task in the olden days but now it is nothing to worry about, you just need to know the steps which is the purpose of this article.
You will learn steps of planting cocoa and not only that how to build business around it.
Are you still in doubt of how profitable cocoa farming is, you should be, a reasonable business man should take calculated risk.
Cocoa farming business has a little competition since it can only be grown in just three continents which are Africa (West Africa), Asia (East Asia) and North America (Latin America). In the ranking of cocoa supplier Nigeria rank fourth coming behind Cotedevoire, Ghana, and Indonesia.
The best part is that 90% of cocoa produce in Nigeria is exported which means you have a chance to earn in dollar.
Opportunities in Cocoa farming
Apart from selling cocoa seed there are other ways you can make money in cocoa business and they are:
Animal feed production
Because of the presence of energy in cocoa husk it is in high demand by feed mill which they use to replace the high cost maize.
Instead of selling your cocoa seed you can process it into butter which is the major raw material in production of chocolate.
Production of juice
You can process cocoa water into juice. If you can ferment it can be used to make an alcoholic beverages.
Perfect place to plant cocoa in Nigeria
Common cocoa varieties in Nigeria
It is the most planted cocoa varieties in the world and in Nigeria, perhaps due to its ability to produce large number of seeds. It is bitter in taste and acidic.
It is not common in Nigeria because it is highly susceptible to disease. It also has acidic taste but not bitter.
Trinitario is a hybrid from the combination of forastereo and Cirillo which means it carries both proliferation ability of forastereo and sweet taste of criollo.
Read more : How to start broiler farming business in Nigeria
Steps of starting cocoa farming business in Nigeria
Location is one of the factors that make or mar your cocoa farming business. Locate a land that has a pH of 5.0 to 7.0 with moist soil. Cocoa does not like to much of sun so your location should be in the south if you are in Nigeria.
There are two ways to plant your cocoa either you nurse cocoa from the initial stage or buy already mature cocoa plant from IITA which cost around#200 to #300.
The deference is that already nursed coca plants will relief you of stress and reduce risk of germination.But if you want t give it a try below are method to plant cocoa.
In this method a leave is taken from full grown cocoa tree, it is cut into two and put into a pot containing sawdust. After some days the leaf will start sprouting root, you can then transplant it to a cool place.
Here, you cut a stem from a full grown cocoa tree and insert it inside a small dig hole of another tree; you can use cocoa tree or another tree.
Once the stem sprouts root or leave you should transplant it to a cool place.
Before I forget, plaster the stem to the tree hole with tape such that no air can be lost from the hole.
Strip bark of full grown cocoa tree, then put the bark inside a polythene full of saw dust. After somedays the bark will start sprouting root, transplant the bark into a cool place.
I will repeat again, it is better you buy from IITA if you want to avoid stress. After breeding cocoa, you need to nurse them up to 5 to 6 month before they will be transplant to their final place.
To nurse cocoa do the following
- Clear the land of pest or insect
- Provide cool place for the nursery, you can do this by planting shading crop like banana plant.
- Water them if there is low rainfall. (Cocoa should be nurse around August to November)
After 5 to 6 month you can then transplant the nursery to their final destination.
Note: Cocoa should be planted in 3m×3m
If you plant early maturing cocoa plant, it will start fruiting from 18 month, but if it is late maturing it might take three years.
Cocoa needs a lot of weeding when they are still young but require little or no weeding when they are old. To prevent weed while they are in nursery stage plant them with Banana tree.
4) Disease, Insect and Pest control
Though you might have less disease to fight if you plant disease resistance varieties. To prevent diseases always ensure you have a clean farm and have fungicide at your side.
Insect such as grass hoppers will start visiting your farm once your cocoa starts fruiting, unfortunately there is little you can do because you need them for pollination.
You can spray pesticide that will not affect cocoa if they are getting too much.
Pest such as giant ant will start pestering your farm from the onset of fruiting; they may not do much damage at the initial stage until your cocoa start producing pods.
5) Provide shape
Cocoa is like any other tree , to thrive they need space which can be provided by regularly pruning the lower or dead branches.
When pruning do not cut off the stem from the three, remember it is the stem that will produce pods, instead cut the stem mid-way.
6) Harvest your cocoa
Cocoa is ready to harvest when the pod turn from green to yellow but be careful do not to let the yellow turn to red as red cocoa pod signifies rottenness.
Use sickle to harvest cocoa pod and ensure you don’t cut the tree to prevent fungi infection.
7) Drying Cocoa
What you need is the seed therefore you need to get rid of the pod by opening it and washing the seed inside water for 4 to 7 days after that you can dry them in the sun.
Cocoa seed is your product, so make sure you dry them on top of a neat material.
Cocoa is not hard to market, if you are able to plant and harvest the rest is simple, you can sell to company who rely on coca as their raw material such as beverage and chocolate producing company.
You can also sell to middle men or export it yourself.
Cost analysis and profitability of cocoa farming business in Nigeria
Let assume you want to plant already nursed cocoa in 2 hectares of land
Land acquisition – #300,000
Land preparation and clearing – #300,000
2 hectares will contain 20,000 seedlings
1 seedlings cost #250
20,000 × #250
Planting = #150,000
Weeding – four times
Fungicide and Pesticide
= # 10,000
Total = #5,975,000
You will need a seed capital of #6 million naira
Profitability of cocoa farming in Nigeria
50kg is sold for #70,000
In first harvest you will have up to 1 ton
1 ton divided by 50kg
20 × #70,000
In the first harvest (18 months) you will have a revenue of #1,400,000. This will be ×3 in the next harvest and then ×6 in the third harvest.
You will break even in your third harvest.
Company that buy cocoa in Nigeria
- Vixxra Companies Ltd.
- Spark Foods LimitedLimited
- SKA Globalville Limited
- Geoebox Ltd.
Challenges of cocoa farming in Nigeria
Every business has its own challenges so do cocoa farming business.
Below are the challenges you might encounter in cocoa farming business
Pest and diseases
Poor or lack of storage facilities
It is capital intensive
Fluctuations of cocoa price
Cocoa farming business is a business that will keep generating more profit as cocoa come off age.
If everything is right you will keep smiling to bank with little or no effort at least for 10 years.
Question and answer
What is cocoa yield per hectare in Nigeria?
Hectare of cocoa will produce between 500kg to 800kg of cocoa seed depending on the location and fertility bofnthebsoil.
How many cocoa tree is in hectare of land?
In an hectare of land you will have between 1,000 to 1,500 plantplant while you will have between 500 to 700 in acre of cocoa plant.
Note: During nursery you might plant up to 10,000 cocoa plant.