The foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) are set to certify 14 commercial cocoa seed entrepreneurs as party of efforts to improve access to improved seedlings for cocoa farmers in the Niger Delta region.
PIND, a non-profit organization working to promote peace and equitable economic growth in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region by forging multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships at the regional, national, and international levels, works closely with numerous partners to implement collaborative market-based, community-owned programs to mitigate conflicts and boost economic opportunities for local businesses, ensuring that economic progress occurs in a systemic, inclusive, and sustainable manner.
Since 2010, PIND and partners have strengthened and stabilized Niger Delta communities by reducing poverty, powering coastal communities, nurturing employment, fostering stability, and enabling development.
A statement released Tuesday in Abuja and signed by PIND’s Communication Coordinator, Onyinye Muomah, said the certificate issuance will take place on November 8, 2022, at CRIN’s headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo state.
In 2021, PIND and CRIN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the market system for producing quality seeds in the cocoa sector.
The MOU was part of PIND’s strategies to improve access to improved seedlings for cocoa farmers in the Niger Delta region under its access to cocoa seeds intervention.
The statement outlined a series of activities that will dovetail into licensing/certification of trained seed entrepreneurs who would have a commercial relationship with CRIN to produce and distribute quality, high-yielding cocoa seedlings to farmers.
“As a result of the partnership, 31 seed entrepreneurs participated in a training on best nursery management practices in 2021. Following the training, PIND supported 14 seed entrepreneurs to establish seed nurseries and produced over 100,000 seedlings supplied commercially to farmers across the region.
“In 2022, PIND and CRIN conducted a joint monitoring/evaluation of these nursery operators to review their performance and adherence to the standards and to certify and license them as third-party seedling producers and distributors, thereby improving the distribution network of quality, certified CRIN seeds/seedlings.
“At an average of 280,000 metric tons production, cocoa accounted for USD 804 million in foreign exchange for Nigeria in 2020. However, the yield of cocoa farms has continued to be low at an average of 400kg per hectare compared to over 800kg per hectare obtainable with improved, high-yielding under good agricultural practices.
“The low yields and productivity experienced by farmers are a combination of factors, including aging trees and farms, limited access to high-yielding varieties, and use of predominantly older types of cocoa, among other factors.
“In 2010, CRIN released eight new, improved varieties known as TC 1-8. These varieties, under good agricultural practices by farmers, have the potential to produce 1.5 tons/ha and above annually.”