Cocoa is a lucrative business not only in Nigeria, but also in many parts of Africa as it is in high demand all over the world because it is used in the manufacture of different things such as candy bars, chocolate, cocoa powder as well as drinks and several others. Check out how to start cocoa business in Nigeria.
- 1 What Is Cocoa?
- 2 Steps to follow in starting a cocoa farm business in Nigeria
- 3 Methods of breeding cocoa in Nigeria
- 4 Importance of Cocoa Farming
- 5 Basic requirements for starting your cocoa farming business
What Is Cocoa?
Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which have significant health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol levels. However, processing cocoa into chocolate or other products can substantially decrease the polyphenol content.
Cocoa farming and beans extraction are labour intensive and the beans are fragile. This pushes many people from the business, especially in a country like Nigeria where there are deficiencies of preservative facilities. However, despite the seemingly challenges in cocoa production, the business can actually thrive once you make out your plan very well.
Steps to follow in starting a cocoa farm business in Nigeria
Write a business plan
With a business plan in place, you can effectively launch and establish your business with relative ease. This is because, you must have outlined and how you want to implement your business idea. This document will serve has a guide throughout the span of your business.
The nature of the business requires that you have sufficient capital to begin with. So you need to consider all your funding options and how you intend to get start up funding.
Of course these days it’s easy to apply for agriculture-based loans with relative ease, compared to times past.
Here are common ways you can access funding for your startup;
- Applying for loans
- Applying for grants
- Crowd funding
- Angel investments
- Family and friends
- Your savings, etc.
The number one key to accessing startup capital is having a winning and detailed business plan handy.
Get a farming site
You should see to it that you select a suitable farming site to set up your plantation. Choose a site with the appropriate climate conditions;
- A good steady rainfall
- A consistent temperature of between 21 – 32 degree Celsius all year round
- Cocoa trees need a deep, slightly acidic, moist soil to flourish. The soil should contain coarse particles and have a depth of about 1.5 metres, so as to enhance the development of a good root system for the cocoa plants. The soil should also have a high content of organic matter; 3.5% in the top 15 centimetres of the soil.
- The land must be covered by rain forest canopy to help provide sufficient nourishment for the cocoa plants.
Select a suitable specie
To set up your cocoa plantation, it is crucial that you use healthy cocoa specie for your planting to ensure maximum yield.
Methods of breeding cocoa in Nigeria
Breeding is simply the cocoa planting process. And there are different ways to breed a cocoa tree, they are;
A bud is cut from a tree and placed under another tree. You have to wax the budding patch to prevent loss of moisture. Finally, the bud is then cut off when it starts growing under the parent tree.
This method involves taking tree cuttings with some two to three leaves and one or two buds. You are to cut the leaves in half and place it in a pot under polythene until roots begin to grow. Once this is achieved, you can then transplant it to the farm.
This is the most commonly used method of planting cocoa. In this process, the cocoa is developed primarily from trees. Using seeding method, you are to extract the beans within fifteen days of harvest from the pod. Plant the seeds under suitable climatic and soil conditions to get optimum yield.
Remove a strip of bark from a branch and have the exposes part covered with sawdust and a polythene sheet. The area will eventually produce roots; have the branches cut off and replanted in the farm.
Importance of Cocoa Farming
Here are the many reasons you should seriously consider cocoa farming business for investments.
- Cocoa is one the fastest selling agricultural produce in the world, and so far, global demand still exceeds capacity to supply by farmers.
- Cocoa farming is a very profitable business
- The business is largely under-explored
- You plant the trees once and harvest it throughout your lifetime
- Cocoa might be the only crop in Nigeria, which you market in one day, as a larger percentage of our globe is cocoa dependent
- There is increasing investments and support for cocoa farmers
Basic requirements for starting your cocoa farming business
Aside from investing in good quality, high-yielding cocoa beans for planting, there are a few other points to factor in while planning for your new startup.
- You have to purchase a storage and drying space. More like a warehouse for proper storage of the cocoa
- Buy scales for weighing the produce.
- You may join The Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN). This is an association created to meet the peculiar needs of cocoa farmers, stakeholders, and other partners in order to ensure the sustainability and development of the sector.
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