The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan has said its 10-year cocoa breeding efforts led to the recent release of eight improved hybrid varieties (CRIN Tc1-CRIN Tc8). That was according to Dr. Festus Olasupo, a Plant Breeder at CRIN.
He said that the hybrid varieties bear fruits within two years and have high yield potentials ranging from 1,340 to 2,120kg per hectare.
He also said that the new varieties were tolerant to phytophthora pod rot black pod disease and other insect infestations which could make their input requirements to be very low when compared with the old varieties.
The plant breeder added that they could be well adapted to the country’s marginal cocoa ecology.
“They produce good and acceptable beans, with good chocolate flavour which command premium price at the global market.
The seeds and seedlings of the new hybrids are available at CRIN, though the demands for them are becoming very high,” he said.
Olasupo said that efforts should be made to enhance farmers’ adoption of the new hybrid varieties and upscale the current production level as well as strengthen the country’s cocoa industry.
He underscored the need for mass production of cocoa planting materials from the new varieties through the establishment of standard somatic embryogenesis laboratory at CRIN.This, he said, would ensure adequate supply of quality planting materials needed for the rehabilitation of aged plantations and moribund cocoa farms across the country.
He also urged the government to give more support to CRIN to ensure the establishment of parental clones of the hybrids at relevant sub-stations of the institution across the country.