Cocoa Production in Nigeria: How to Start

People born between the 60’s and 80’s would definitely know the value of cocoa production in Nigeria. Cocoa is a crop Nigeria once banked on as its major exported cash crops before the oil boom. Nigeria was the biggest exporter of cocoa in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. The Oil came and poor agricultural management set in, costing us badly and allowing us to lose the prestigious spot to a fellow African country – Cote d’Ivoire, who are now the largest cocoa producer in the world, followed by Indonesia.

When cocoa production and export is concerned, Nigeria only lives in past glory and if care is not taken, Nigeria might end up losing all it has gained from the export of what is touted as some farmers as the ‘Wealth Seed’.

The demand for Cocoa now, is not even the same, but higher than what the demand was, back then. When the agricultural spotlight is focused on Nigeria, foreign countries can vividly see the potentials in Nigeria and would quickly act fast in taking advantage of it, while Nigeria (rather, we Nigerians) sit on a goldmine and yet we can’t see it but only look forward to foreign aid and investments.

cocoa production in nigeria

Cocoa Production in Nigeria: Overview

For a long time, Cocoa has been and would for a really long (and I mean very long) time still be one of the fastest selling agricultural products in both the international market and the local market. Although Cocoa is not the easiest of crops to manage, but once you can sacrifice the time and the effort to have it planted, groomed and nurtured to its full maturity, you can keep getting attractive returns on it for a time as long as decades.

Truth be told, cocoa production in Nigeria is one very under-exploited and under-utilized sector and Nigeria still needs as many farmers in the cocoa production section as possible, since demand continues to outweigh supply. There are still thousands of acres of fertile lands that can still be used for the planting and cultivation of cocoa, and as a cocoa production enthusiast, you could consider this post as a form of ‘How to Start’ guide to your prospective cocoa production business.

Starting the cocoa farming and production business in Nigeria isn’t as hard as it seems, especially if you can endeavour to gather the right information and not just hold onto the knowledge you have about the biz. Rather, if you take action on the knowledge gathered, you might soon become a big player in the cocoa production business.

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As we disclose to you, what you need to know on how to successfully kick-start a cocoa business in Nigeria, bear in mind that returns on cocoa starts small but grows on bigger and bigger with time (and effort).

Some important questions to ask before embarking on the cocoa production business in Nigeria are:

  • How much capital can I afford to start the business? (Capital would determine your starting scale – Small Scale or Large Scale.)
  • How many cocoa farmers are in my vicinity? (Two reasons why you need to know these are: 1. Attachment for training. 2. Awareness on your potential competition)
  • Can I have the time to oversee the cocoa cultivation and production or do I need to employ the services of a cocoa farmer? (You need to know for proper budgeting.)
  • What is the ROI on cocoa production?

Cocoa Production in Nigeria: Required Facilities

There has been, there is, and there would continue to be opportunities all around the cocoa production business. Unlike some agricultural products, it doesn’t need much advertising and convincing to sell-out. More so, those who buy cocoa oftentimes buy it in bulk (Bags and heavy duty sacks).

Below are some of the things you’ll need when starting out your business.

Piece of Land: If you want to see through your business from start to finish, you would unavoidably need an area of land to start your cocoa business, but it all depends on what you can afford. For a small scale business, you don’t necessarily have to get a farm land, as you can simply buy fresh cocoa seeds from farmers who’ll sell it at a much lesser price.

 Storage and Drying Space: You would inevitably need to have a store or warehouse, secure enough to give your business (the cocoa seeds) the required safekeeping it needs. Your business is your cocoa seeds, as you have no business with the pods. Also, the store needs to have enough space outdoors for you to spread your seeds. Cocoa seeds need to be dried in the sun for it to be useable. The drying period normally takes a period of two weeks.

Relevant Equipments: You would need equipments like the scale for weighing the bags, normal sacks and heavy duty sacks, for conveying the seeds from one place to another, and a wide water-proof material that can be used in drying the seeds in open air.

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Cocoa Seeds: There goes the tiny but most integral part of your business. The cocoa seeds can either be bought from cocoa farmers or harvested, if you have a cocoa farm – an option which is advisable later in your business when you have the money.

Knowledge: You might not see someone who’ll pay you for gaining knowledge from them, but whatever the case may be. It is very important you get trained for at least four to six months before setting up your cocoa production business. That’s if you’re really serious about taking your business ahead of surrounding competition.

Cocoa Production in Nigeria: Feasibility Study

The feasibility study included in this guide is for a medium cocoa production business, from the start to the sale of 500 bags of cocoa. The Capital covers from store set-up, land acquisition, seed purchase, production, and marketing.

The selling price of cocoa is the same almost everywhere. Each bag (A standard of 50 Kg) is being sold for about N55,000.

For a start, all the materials needed (Renting a store depends on location, purchase of needed equipments, planting and tendering, and so on, is approximately N3,500,000)

If you start harvesting after 18 months, (you can start harvesting as soon as that if you’ve planted the early-maturing, high-yielding and disease resistant cocoa beans seed to boost your farm’s production in a short period of time).

N55,000 X 500 = N27,500,000

ROI = N27,500,000 – N3,500,000

After 18 months of cultivation, the gain was a staggering N24,000,000; which isn’t bad at all especially since selling cocoa beans seed doesn’t take much marketing. In fact, you can sell all off in less than one month.

Cocoa Production: Risks Involved

  • Managing a cocoa farm takes time, effort, patience and energy.
  • Constant guard and protective measure against rodents and infectious parasites.
  • Setting up a cocoa production plant is very capital intensive.

Cocoa Production: Advantages

  • Cocoa sells faster than almost every other agricultural produce.
  • You would inadvertently be contributing to the nations GDP.
  • A lot of beverage companies rely on cocoa for the production, making it very profitable.
  • As a young person, you can leave the circle of the unemployed.
  • The ROI from cocoa and production is very attractive and is enough compensation for your time, energy and money.

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