|By goGreen | January 7, 2012|
Philippines can be a potential producer of cocoa. The climatic conditions and soil characteristics are conducive to growing cocoa. There is presently an increasing interest from local farmers because local and international demand for cocoa products is way beyond the production capacity of the country and world prices have been constantly favorable. With a positive attitude towards sustainable cacao production in the country, the Philippines can compete globally in the world’s supply of cocoa products.
According to statistics, the country’s supply reached a deficit of 44,349 metric tons a year (2005) against local consumption. Production was then nearly 5000 metric tons in 2005. Local consumption then reached nearly 50,000 metric tons. There is indeed a large demand for local production of cocoa beans. With the present civil war happening in Ivory Coast which produces about 40% of the world’s cacao, major buyers (mostly from the US and Europe) are seeking alternate supply elsewhere. Cacao is considered an equatorial crop (crops that thrives well on regions occupying the equator), the Philippines has a great potential growing cacao.
Selection of Varieties
There are many varieties of cacao but the National Seed Industry Council has registered and approved only 9 varieties/clones of cacao. NSIC approved clones are the following:
- BR 25
- K 1
- K 2
- UIT 1
- ICS 40
- UF 18
- S 5
- K 4
- K 9
Some of the nine varieties are as follows:
1. BR25 (CC-99-05)
4. K 1
Propagation and Nursery Establishment
In any crop, good production and income generation start with ensuring the best quality available for the variety of the crop being produced. Aside from choosing the variety, propagation techniques and nursery management will be described in this section.
Propagation by seeds
- Collect seeds only from ripe and healthy pods.
- Select seeds that are uniform in size. Discard seeds that are swollen and of different shape
- Select bigger seeds since the possibility high that they would produce vigorous and fast growing seedlings are high.
- Remove mucilage that covers the seeds by rubbing the seeds with sawdust or sand.
- Wash the seeds to effectively remove the mucilage.
- Cacao seeds are sensitive to fungal attacks and could lead to non-germination. It is best to soak cleaned seeds in fungicide solution for about 10 minutes. Follow strictly instructions indicated in labels.
- Spread the seeds on wet sacks and cover with wet newspaper for 24 hrs.
- Keep it moist but well ventilated to avoid formation of fungi.
- Start collecting seeds that show sign of germination (a pig tail-like root appears on one side). Usually, germination starts after two days.
- Sow the pre-germinated seeds not more than 1 cm deep in prepared polybags. Be sure seeds are sown with the pigtail-root pointed downwards.
- Use select 8″ x 10″ polybags. The soil must reach 2 to 3 cm from the top of the plastic bag.
- Potting medium
- mix completely composted organic materials to improve the soil characteristics such as water holding capacity, nutrient content and soil texture.
- If possible sterilize soil by boiling soil with water in drums or other convenient containers. In some cases, spraying formaline solutions also help sterilize soils. Cheapest way to sterilize soil is the use solar drying.
- Loamy to sandy loam soils are the most suitable medium in terms of physical property for raising seedlings.
- Liming is used for soils with less than pH 5