Nigeria to produce up to 500,000 tonnes of cocoa annually beginning in 2015, agriculture minister says; country currently produces 250,000 tonnes annually

ASABA, Nigeria , August 23, 2013 () – Nigeria is to produce up to 500,000 metric tons of cocoa annually, beginning from 2015, Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina said on Friday.

Adesina, who delivered a paper at the ongoing All Nigerian Editors Conference in Asaba, capital of oil-rich Delta State, said the government's target is to double the production of cocoa from the current 250,000 metric tons per annum.

This, according to the minister, will be achieved, on account of the recently released high yielding hybrids of cocoa by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria.

"These varieties give yields five times the yields currently obtained by farmers and in half the time," he said.

Irrespective of the nature of products, be it crops, livestock or fisheries, marketing has remained a daunting challenge to farmers in Nigeria, he added, giving the assurance that government would finally and adequately address the problem.

Adesina noted the challenge of marketing was basically due to the absence of a market information system, poor storage facilities and poor rural road networks.

"Post-harvest loses can be as high as 45 percent for some agriculture commodities, especially perishable such as onions, tomatoes, fruits and horticulture products. We are addressing this challenge. We have completed a total of 10 new silos for strategic food reserves within one year," he explained.

He said the government has made efforts to complete a total of 30 silos of different capacities in various locations in the six geopolitical zones of the country, aside supporting the silos with warehouses to ensure that the post harvest loses were reduced.

(c) 2013 Xinhua News Agency

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