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Nigeria's Cross River State to Begin Cocoa Processing in 2018

23 Sep 2017 7:52 pm
By Obafemi Oredei 

IBADAN, Nigeria -- Nigeria's Cross River state, the country`s second-largest cocoa-producer, is to begin operations at its naira cocoa processing factory in 2018, a senior government official said Saturday.

Oscar Ofuka, senior special adviser on cocoa to Cross River state governor Ben Ayade, said the factory now under construction will process 30,000 metric tons of cocoa beans a year into cocoa butter, cake, liquor and powder.

"Work is going on round the clock at the factory, it is expected to be completed in 2018 and will start processing cocoa in the same year. The state is getting support from the Nigerian Export and Import Bank," Mr. Ofuka said.

Cross River, the biggest cocoa producer in eastern Nigeria and the second-largest producer in the country after Ondo state, in the southwest, produces around 60,000 tons of cocoa, according to the Cocoa Association of Nigeria.

It sells its cocoa output to local and foreign traders and exporters as raw beans but plans to add value to the cocoa to provide more jobs and increase revenue, he said.

Mr. Ofuka said the factory is being built in Ikom, the largest cocoa-growing area in the state, adding that the state government has already acquired 100,000 hectares of new land for planting cocoa while more lands are being acquired to expand cocoa production.

He said a new hybrid cocoa variety that produces cocoa pods in 18 months has been procured from the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria experimental station in Ikom for planting in the new farm lands.

"We are planting new cocoa farms all around the state. The farms will be laid out in hectares and sold to small holder farmers who will pay a small fee to cultivate the farms. A cocoa revolution is going on in Cross River state," he said.

The five cocoa processing companies now in operation in Nigeria grind around 20% to 25% of the country`s cocoa output of about 300,000 tons a year, while the rest is exported as raw beans, CAN said.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 23, 2017 15:52 ET (19:52 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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