(Updates with comment from third paragraph.)
June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cameroon plans to boost cocoa production to as much as 300,000 metric tons a year by 2015, up from about 219,000 tons, according to Jean Marie Mboutou, an official with the government’s Integrated Cocoa Plant Protection Program.
Cameroon, the world’s fifth-biggest producer of the crop after Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia and Nigeria, plans to boost output by training farmers to maintain and clean farms to ensure parasites and old pods, which can cause disease, are removed, Mboutou said in an interview today in the capital, Yaounde.
“Our mission is to ensure that farmers regulate the humidity level by making sure their cocoa plants receive at least 70 percent of sunlight”, Mboutou said.
Improved farming conditions will increase yields from 300 to 500 kilograms (661 to 1,102 pounds) a hectare (2.47 acres) to 800 to 2,000 kilograms, he said.
Cocoa farms in the Central African nation at present cover 450,000 hectares of land produced by 600,000 farmers, Mboutou said.
Cameroon has produced 219,000 tons of cocoa this year since the season started in August, according to the Cocoa and Coffee Board. The country’s output was 198,000 tons in 2009-10.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pius Lukong in Yaounde at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alastair Reed at email@example.com