At an average of 280,000 metric tons production, cocoa accounted for USD $804 million in foreign exchange for Nigeria in 2020, the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) have estimated.
This is as CRIN released eight new, improved varieties of cocoa known as TC 1-8 in the year 2010. These varieties, under good agricultural practices by farmers, have the potential to produce 1.5 tons/ha and above annually.
To this end, the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) as well as the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) have concluded training and ready to certify 14 commercial cocoa seed entrepreneurs to rejuvenate the sector.
According to the event schedule, the certificate issuance will take place on November 8, 2022, at CRIN’s headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Recall that in 2021, PIND and CRIN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening the market system for producing quality seeds in the cocoa sector.
The MOU was sequel to the low yield of cocoa farms averaging 400kg per hectare compared to over 800kg per hectare obtainable with improved, high-yielding under good agricultural practices.
Both CRIN and PIND agreed that the low yields and productivity experienced by farmers were a combination of factors, including aging trees and farms, limited access to high-yielding varieties, types of cocoa, among other facand use of predominantly older tors.
The MOU was therefore part of PIND’s strategies to improve access to improved seedlings for cocoa farmers in the Niger Delta region under its access to cocoa seeds intervention.
Both agencies also outlined a series of activities that will dovetail into licensing/certification of trained seed entrepreneurs who would have a commercial relationship with CRIN to produce and distribute quality, high-yielding cocoa seedlings to farmers.
As a result of the partnership, 31 seed entrepreneurs participated in a training on best nursery management practices in 2021.
Following the training, PIND supported 14 seed entrepreneurs to establish seed nurseries and produced over 100,000 seedlings supplied commercially to farmers across the region.
In 2022, PIND and CRIN conducted a joint monitoring/evaluation of these nursery operators to review their performance and adherence to the standards and to certify and license them as third-party seedling producers and distributors, thereby improving the distribution network of quality, certified CRIN seeds/ seedlings.