About Cocoa - _ About the Crop _.pdf

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    ut Cocoa - :: About the Crop ::

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    About the Crop

    Schemes / Programmes

    Application Forms

    Guidelines

    Implementing Agencies

    Nurseries

    Statistics

    About Cocoa

    :: About TH E CROP - COCOA ::

    TechnologyCultivation

    Cocoa ( Theobroma cacao L. ) is a native of Amazon

    region of South America. The bulk of it is produced in the

    tropical areas of the African continent. There are over 20

    species in the genus but the cocoa tree Theobroma cacao is

    the only one cultivated widely.

    Cocoa being a tropical crop, India offers considerable scope

    for the development. Cocoa is mainly grown in Kerala,

    Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

    Importance:

    Though cocoa has been known as the beverage crop even before tea or coffee, it is relatively a new

    crop in India. Cocoa being primarily an item of confectionery industries is the produce of Cacao plant

    mostly grown as a companion crop interspersed within the irrigated Coconut and /or Arecanut

    gardens. Even though Cocoa comes under the definition of plantation crops pure plantation of cocoa

    as such is absent in India. The commercial cultivation of cocoa however commenced from 1960s

    only. Various Cocoa products are confectionery in nature and consumable with palatable ness.

    Internationally it is an item largely consumed in developed countries. India has gained a foreign

    exchange of nearly Rs. 9.00 crores in 1995-96 and Rs. 6.00 crores in 1996-97 by way of export of

    cocoa beans and its products from India. At present the global production and consumption of cocoa

    is around 27.00 lakh MT, compared to this, Indias production is meager i.e. 10,000 MT.

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    Climate:

    Rainfall

    Average rainfall of 1250-3000 mm. per annum and preferably between 1500-2000mm. with a dry

    season of not more than 3 months with less than 100mm. rain per month is ideal, but the quantity is

    less important than distribution. Rainfall can be supplemented with irrigation during dry months.

    Temperature

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    Temperature varying between 30-320C mean maximum and 18-210C mean minimum but around

    250C is considered to be a favourable. It cant be grown commercially in areas where the minimum

    temperature fall below 100C and annual average temperature is less than 210C.

    Humidity

    This is uniformly high in cocoa-growing areas, often 100% at night, falling to 70-80 % by day,

    sometimes low during the dry season. The most marked effect was on leaf area, plants growing atlow humidity ( 50-60%) having larger leaves and greater leaf area than plants growing at medium

    (70-80%) and high (90-95%) humidity under the latter conditions leaves are small and tend to be

    curled and withered at the tip. The other effects of humidity concern the spread of fungal diseases

    and the difficulties of drying and storage.

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    Soil

    Cocoa is grown on a wide range of soil types and the standards for soil suitable for cocoa vary

    considerably. Cocoa trees are more sensitive to moisture stress than other tropical crops. In addition

    cocoa trees are sensitive to water logging. While they can withstand flooding, they will not tolerate

    stagnant, water logged conditions. The depth of the soil should be at least 1.5m. The best soil forcocoa is forest soil rich in humus. The soil should be such as allowing easy penetration of roots

    capable of retaining moisture during summer and allowing circulation of air and moisture. Clay loams

    and sandy loams are suitable. Shallow soils should be avoided. A minimum requirement of 3.5%

    organic matter say 2% Carbon in the top 15cm. is ideal for growing cocoa plantation. Cocoa is grown

    on soils with a wide range of PH from 6-7.5 where major nutrients and trace elements will be

    available. Cocoa doest not come up in coastal sandy soils where coconut flourish.

    Selection of planting mate rial:

    Cocoa can be propagated through seeds or by vegetative means. For raising seedlings, seeds of

    mature pods are taken from high yielding mother plants. The mother plants selected should yield

    more than 100 pods per year and should have medium or large green pods with an average dry bean

    weight of not less than one gram. A more suitable procedure for planting good quality seedling will be

    to collect hybrid seeds from bi clonal or polyclonal seed gardens involving superior self- incompatible

    parents.

    The seeds generally lose their viability after seven days of harvest. To avoid these drop in viability

    during long periods of storage, the extracted seeds may be stored in moist charcoal and then packed

    in polythene bags.

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    Potting mixture and time of sow ing:

    The normal potting mixture with farm yard manure, sand and soil in equal proportions is good for

    raising cocoa seedlings. Though cocoa seeds germinate at any time of the year, the best period of

    sowing the seeds in nursery is December- J anuary so that four to six months old seedlings will

    become available for field planting by the onset of the monsoon in the traditional areas.

    Met hod of sowing:

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    The seeds are to be sown with the helium end facing downwards or are sown flat. The seeds should

    not be placed too deep in the soil. The seeds start germinating in a weeks time but the process may

    continue for another week. Generally 90% of the seeds germinate. Regular watering is essential to

    keep the soil moist. Over watering should be avoided in order to check the outbreaks of diseases.

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    Selec tion of seedlings for field planting:

    Four to six months old seedlings are generally used for field planting. Since seedling vigour and finalyield are closely related, the seedlings for field planting should be selected based on seedling vigour.

    Seedling vigour can be estimated based on height of seedlings and stem girth.

    Propagation:

    Vegetative propagation: Large scale production of superior planting material is possible in cocoa

    through vegetative means like budding and grafting of which budding is the easiest. The different

    budding methods feasible are T , inverted T, patch and modified Forkert. The new method of micro

    budding also may be followed.

    Selection of root stocks and bud wood: Seedlings of about 60-90 days are generally used as rootstock. While selecting root stock, care should be taken to see that both root stock and scion are of

    same thickness and physiological age. Bud wood from chupons can be taken for budding. The patch

    to be taken should be above 2.5 cm. long and 0.5cm. wide with a single vigorous bud on it. Bark of

    the same size is removed from the root stock and the bud patch is inserted. It is then tied with

    grafting tape. The patch selected should have bud that is visible to the naked eye but it should not

    have signs of proliferation. Even though bud wood freshly collected can be used for budding, pre-

    curing of bud wood is found to increase the percentage of success. Such a pre-curing consists of

    removing the lamina portions of all the leaves from the region of bud stick chosen. The petiole stump

    will fall off in about 10 days and the buds would have been initiated to grow. Buds may now be

    extracted from the pre-cured portion. If the root stocks are less than four months old, the bud wood

    selected should also be green or greenish brown.

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    1.

    A healthy seedling

    ready for budding

    2.

    Preparing rootstock

    removing bud patch

    3. 4.

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    Bud patch removed

    from scion shoot Tying budded portion after

    inserting the patch

    5.

    Budding tape removed

    21 days after budding

    6.

    Sprouted bud

    7.

    Seedling shoot above the

    sprout snapped back

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    After ca re :

    About three weeks after budding, the grafting tape is removed. If there is successful bud union, a

    vertical cut is made half way through the stem above the bud and the stock portion is snapped back.

    Such snapped root stock portion is cut and removed only after the bud has grown sufficiently with at

    least two leaves hardened. After about four to six months, they are ready for field planting. Care

    should be taken to remove the new sprouts from the root stock portion.

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    Shade:

    Cocoa needs shade for its natural habitat young cocoa plants grow best with 50% full sunlight. As the