By Obafemi Oredein
Special for Dow Jones Newswires
IBADAN, Nigeria – Some farmers in the Nigerian state of Ondo have doubled their cocoa production per hectare, producing one kilogram of cocoa per tree, as the state aims to increase production to 100,000 tonnes during the 2020-21 season, according to a senior cocoa official said Friday.
The production of one kilogram of cocoa per tree would translate to one metric ton per hectare per year compared to the current production of 500 kilograms of cocoa per hectare per year, the state government said.
” One kilogram [of cocoa] per tree is on track, ”said Toba Adenowuro, cocoa officer at the Ministry of Agriculture in Akure, the capital of Ondo. “Farmers across the state are adopting it now,” he added.
Ondo is Nigeria’s largest cocoa producer and accounts for around 40% of national production, estimated at between 280,000 and 300,000 tonnes of cocoa per season by trading groups.
It is the first state in Nigeria to set the goal of one kilogram per tree.
The majority of Ondo’s farmers still consume an average of 500 kilograms of cocoa per hectare, Adenowuro said. Ondo produced 84,000 tonnes of cocoa in the 2019-20 season, more than the 77,000 tonnes produced the previous season, he said.
Ondo aims to increase its production to 100,000 tonnes in 2020-21 following the rehabilitation of its old cocoa farms and has established a new model 2,000 hectare cocoa farm at Ijugbere camp in the Owo region, a Mr Adenowuro said, adding that the new cocoa varieties developed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria have been planted in the new farm.