Rehabilitation of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in Nigeria: physical and moisture retention properties of old cocoa soils

Samson A. Ayanlaja


An early decline in the productivity of most cocoa farms in Nigeria has caused a fall in national output and has necessitated immediate rehabilitation of the unproductive farms. To investigate the causes of the early decline the physical properties of soils in nine representative cocoa farms were determined and compared with the limits of adequacy for successful cocoa cultivation set up by various workers. Only five of the nine farms investigated have adequate soil moisture retention properties, root-penetrable soil depths, soil textures, drainage, amounts and distribution of rainfall required to support profitable cocoa production. Other farms were sited on inferior soils with physical properties that cannot support healthy cocoa tree growth. This indicates that a substantial proportion, 44-55%, of Nigerian cocoa farms were wrongly sited. A need for exhaustive determinations of the soil physical characteristics of sites intended for cocoa rehabilitation/establishment is stressed.


Physical properties; Cocoa soils; Rehabilitations; Theobroma cacao L.; Nigeria

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