The Federal Government on Tuesday presented a training manual for agricultural extension agents and farmers to boost cocoa production in the country.
Speaking during the presentation on cocoa production update and manual by researchers, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed optimism that the initiative would boost cocoa production in Nigeria.
“This document will go a long way to galvanise the cocoa industry in terms of extension services, production, processing and export,” he said.
He said that the country had not got right in cocoa production, but expressed optimism that through the production of the manual a lot of things would happen for the better.
The minister commended the partners who did the research on cocoa, saying “without research there will be no innovation’’.
Abubakar said that a lot had gone on into the production of the cocoa manual as a result of articulated research by experts.
“You will have increase in yield; you will have improved seeds, everything that you can think of because they are in the manual. Research brought out all these things.
“I can assure you of an increase yield. In fact, Nigeria should be the best cocoa producing country in the world.
“I think now it is time for us to start exporting raw cocoa and cocoa powder so that it will increase the value chain and income of farmers,’’ he said
In a presentation on cocoa-soil project, Mr Frank Kudla, Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE), said that the project was a five-year programme funded by the Norwegian Government.
“The project is aimed delivering improved soil fertility management recommendations to cocoa farmers in Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
“This is in addition to developing specific fertilizer for cocoa and the establishment of cocoa plantation beginning from a flat land which is non-forest area,’’ Kudla said.
Also, the Focal Person for Nigeria on Cocoa-soils, Dr Moses Ogunlade, said the document was a training manual for the extension agents to train cocoa farmers on best practices in production.