cthe local media reported on Thursday.
The private Vanguard newspaper reported that this could be achieved as the Government had begun distribution of hybrid cocoa seeds developed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria to farmers.
The hybrid cocoa seed would take about two to three years to mature as against five years maturity span of older seeds.
“The Federal Government is investing heavily on cocoa production and regeneration of cocoa plantations by way of giving farmers hybrid cocoa seeds,” the Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS) Chief Control Officer, Mr Israel Ikwejulor, said.
“We presently produce about 250,000 tonnes of cocoa, but government is working at doubling that (amount) to 500,000 tonnes per season in another 10 years,” Ikwejulor added.
Nigeria is the fourth largest cocoa producing nation in the world. With an expanse of land, favourable weather and government support for farmers, Ikwejulor expressed optimism that the target would be achieved.
Though a major cocoa producing nation, Nigeria is not a consumer of the product. This is a hindrance to processing cocoa into cakes, liquor and powder.
“Nigeria is not a cocoa consuming nation. This is why the Federal Government exports cocoa beans and cocoa beans exporters have government’s support through the export processing grant,” he explained.