The Federal Government has announced plans to increase the production of cocoa to about 500 metric tonnes by 2015 through its growth enhancement support scheme for the agricultural sector.

The plan is also expected to create 390,000 jobs in the cocoa sector.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, Dr Ezekeil Oyemomi refuted claims that the recently approved agrochemicals by the Federal Government are harmful to cocoa trees.

The Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Professor Malachy Akoroda said that the pesticides have been screened and registered by the institute and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).