The Federal Government has targeted the production of 500,000 metric tonnes of Cocoa annually, from 2015. Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture, disclosed this in a paper entitled: “Agriculture: The Value Chain Roadmap” on Friday at the 9th All Nigerian Editors Conference with the theme “Nigeria Beyond Oil: Role of the Editor” in Asaba, Delta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day conference which started on Wednesday was organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors in collaboration with the Delta State Government.
According to him, government’s target is to double the production of cocoa from the current 250,000 metric tonne per annum to over 500,000 metric tonne per annum by 2015.
“We are taking advantage 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.”
The minister also said that irrespective of the nature of products be it crops, livestock or fisheries, marketing has remained a daunting challenge to farmers adding that government was already addressing that.
He said that the challenge of marketing was basically due to the absence of market information system, poor storage facilities, poor rural road networks among others.
“Post harvest loses can be as high as 45 per cent 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.
“We now have a total of 30 silos of different capacities in various locations in the six geopolitical zones of the country,” he said.
He said that government was also supporting the silos with warehouses to ensure that the post harvest loses were reduced.