How Many Years Does Cocoa Take to Grow?

September 7, 2022

Cocoa also known as cacao is a perennial crop. It takes 3 – 8 years for cocoa to grow. Some cocoa varities start producing fruits from the third year; these varieties are the hybrid cocoa varieties.

Varieties like Amelonado and Criollo takes 7 – 8 years to grow. These varieties are the old varieties of cocoa and they do not reach maturity stage like the new hybrd cocoa varieties.

There are a lot of factors that impact how many years cocoa take to grow. This will be discussed in this post.

cocoa farming

How many years do different cocoa varieties take to grow

CRIN TC - Series

The TC series of cocoa are bred by the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN). These are hybrid cocoa varieties that are high yielding. The TC series 1 – 5 are resistant to a number of diseases and pests.

It takes 3 – 4 years for these hybrid cocoa to grow and start fruiting. TC series variety is popular among the educated Nigerians who practice cocoa farming.

Triollo Cocoa Variety

Triollo cocoa variety is one of the most popular cocoa varieties in Nigeria. It is mostly planted in the southern part of Nigeria.

It is known for its high yield and good nut quality. It takes 5– 8 years for the criollo cocoa variety to grow and start fruiting.

Amelonado Cocoa Variety

The Amelonado cocoa variety was once popular in Nigeria, the popularity has waned because cocoa farmers now prefer the TC series variety. It takes about 5 -8 years for this cocoa variety to grow and start to fruit.

Factors that impact how many years it take cocoa to grow

The following are some of the factors that impact how many years it takes cocoa to grow:

Climatic Conditions

Cocoa does well in tropical areas. It needs a temperature of 25 – 35 Celsius to grow well. Cocoa grown in areas with abundant sunshine and rainfall will grow faster than cocoa grown in areas with low temperature with low level of rainfall.


Most of the cocoa farmers in Nigeria grow ccoa under rainfed conditions. There is a misconception that cocoa only needs rains. Cocoa grown under drip irrigation can grow 25 – 50% faster than those grown relying on rains.

Soil Fertility

The fertility of the soil can impact the number of years it will take cocoa to grow. If your soil is fertile, your cocoa crop is likely to grow faster.

Application of Fertilizers

Cocoa farmers in Nigeria hardly apply the right type of fertilizers to their crops. If you apply the right type and dose of fertilizers, the cocoa crop may likely grow faster.

Plant Population

The population of cocoa trees on your farmland can impact how long it takes for the cocoa crop to grow.

Farms that are too packed with cocoa trees may delay fruiting as some of the trees will be shaded. Shading can impact photosynthesis and delay the growth of plants.

Do you grow cocoa in Nigeria? If yes, why not share with us in the comments’ section, how many years it took your cocoa crop to grow.

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