Beverages and Stimulants
cocoa tree flourishes in the dense shade of warm rain
forests in its natural habitat and hence can be cultivated
in all similar climatic conditions. The tree cannot withstand
high winds, drought or sudden fall in temperature. The
crop requires well-distributed rainfall. The minimum requirement
of rainfall is about 100-150 cm per annum. Situations
where the temperature falls below 10°C or rises above
38°C are unfavourable although minor deviations from
the above limit can be adjusted by shade and irrigation.
High wind velocity causes considerable mechanical damage
is grown at altitude up to 900 m above MSL though it
is possible to grow the crop even in much higher elevations
under sheltered conditions.
best soil for cocoa is forest soil rich in humus. The
soil should allow easy penetration of roots and capable
of retaining moisture during summer. Clay loams, loams
and sandy loams are suitable. Shallow soils should be
can be propagated by seed and vegetative means.
It is desirable to collect seeds from biclonal or polyclonal
seed gardens involving superior self-incompatible parents
to ensure genetic superiority of planting materials.
Polyclonal and biclonal seed gardens have been established
at CCRP farm of the Kerala Agricultural University,
Vellanikkara and Kidu farm of CPCRI and seeds and seedlings
are being supplied to growers. If seeds cannot be procured
from such seed gardens, mother plants for collection
of seeds may be selected based on the following criteria:
Trees of Forastero type having medium or large pods
of not less than 350 g weight or 400 cc volume, green
in colour when immature, having smooth or shallow furrows
on the surface without prominent constriction at the
neck should be selected. Yield of pods should be not
less than 100 per year.
(2) Husk thickness of pods to be not more than 1 cm.
(3) Pod value (number of pods to give 1 kg wet beans)
to be not more than 12.
(4) Number of beans per pod to be not less than 35.
(5) Bean dry weight to be not less than 1 g.
lose viability within a week of harvest of pods. Seeds
are to be sown immediately after extraction from the
pods. Viability of the beans can be extended for some
more days if freshly extracted seeds are stored in moist
charcoal and packed in polybags. Other alternative is
extracting beans, removing the testa and packing in
Selection of planting materials
When seedlings are used for planting, select only vigorous
and healthy seedlings produced from polyclonal seed
garden or selected mother plants as described earlier.
When budded plants are used, select two or more clones
for planting as the use of a single clone can lead to
poor production due to the existence of self-incompatibility
three varietal types viz., Criollo, Forastero and
Trinitario are recognized, only Forastero types are
known to perform well under Indian conditions. Breeding
work initiated at the Kerala Agricultural University
since 1979 has resulted in the release of seven improved
clones of Forastero type. These are CCRP 1, CCRP 2,
CCRP 3, CCRP 4, CCRP 5, CCRP 6 and CCRP 7. These improved
clones are suitable for cultivation in different cocoa
growing tracts of the country and also in the warm
tropical areas especially under the shade of coconut.
All these clones are tolerant to vascular streak dieback
and have yield potential in the range from 55 to 180
pods per tree per year and mean yield from 38 to 78
pods per tree per year. During 2002, three hybrids
viz., CCRP 8, CCRP 9 and CCRP 10 were released. These
have mean yields of 90, 105 and 79 pods per tree per
year. These are also tolerant to vascular streak dieback
is highly cross pollinated and growing of different
varieties adjacent to each other must be encouraged
so as to achieve maximum fruit set and yield realization.
Cocoa is usually planted under coconut and arecanut
plantations in India. Shade levels under coconut canopy
are highly variable depending mainly on the spacing
of coconut, extent of canopy development and age of
palms. It is estimated that light infiltration through
coconut canopy ranges from about 30 to 80 per cent depending
upon these factors. Based on this, the general recommendation
is as follows:
If a choice is possible, a coconut plantation that will
let in more light through the canopy may be chosen for
2. If the light infiltration is over 50 per cent, it
may be beneficial to provide additional shade using
temporary shade plants like banana.
The seedlings / budded clones are usually planted in
the interspaces of coconut / arecanut. Give a spacing
of 3 to 4.5 m. The crop is best grown with 50 per cent
light intensity in the early stages. In the early life
of the plants, planting of quick growing plants like
banana and tapioca can provide temporary shade.
Time of sowing
Though the seeds will germinate at any time of the year,
seeds may preferably be sown by December-January, so
that 4-6 month old seedlings become available for planting
Seeds are to be sown with hilum-end down or to be sown
flat. Sowing is to be as shallow as to just cover the
seeds with soil. Removal of pulp may enhance the speed
of germination, but the extent of additional advantage
is only marginal. Seeds start germination in about a
week and germination may continue for another one week.
Percentage of germination may be around 90.
nursery is to be located in a heavily shaded area, which
allows only 25-50 per cent sunlight. Regular watering
is necessary to keep the soil moist.
are transplanted after 4-6 months. Only vigorous seedlings
are to be used and based on height and stem girth, 25%
poor seedlings may be rejected. When seedlings are grown
under heavy shade, hardening for 10 days by exposing
to higher illumination may be necessary before transplanting.
In view of the high variability exhibited by seedling
progenies, vegetative propagation is preferred for large
scale planting. Though vegetative propagation of cocoa
by budding, rooting of cuttings and grafting are feasible,
the widely accepted method in India is budding.
for budding are to be collected from high yielding,
disease resistant elite plants. Shoots having brown
bark and just hardened leaves are selected as bud wood.
Scions are preferably procured by cutting off lamina
of all the leaves of the selected scion shoot to a distance
of about 30 cm from the tip. After 10 days when the
petioles have fallen off, these scion shoots are cut
and used for budding immediately. Bud wood can be stored
by dipping in benzyl chloride followed by washing in
water and then sealing the cut ends using molten wax.
Bud wood is then wrapped in moist cotton wool and in
turn in wet tissue paper or blotting paper and packed
in boxes with wet packing material. The packet is then
covered using polythene sheets. Storage life of the
bud wood can be extended up to 10 days by this method.
As far as possible, bud wood is to be collected from
chupons as those produced from fans may develop into
bushy plants with spreading habit. Rootstock, six to
twelve months old may be selected in such a way that
scion and rootstock are of the same thickness. Different
successful methods include T, inverted T, patch, and
modified Forkert methods. Patch budding is adopted in
the Kerala Agricultural University.
budding method consists of removing a patch of about
2.5 cm length and 0.5 cm width from the rootstocks,
preparing a bud patch of 2.5 cm length and 0.5 cm width
from the bud wood and inserting it into the rootstock
and tying firmly with polythene tape. After three weeks,
if there is bud-take, polythene tape is removed; a vertical
cut is made half way through the stem above the bud
and is snapped back. The snapped root stock portion
is cut back after the bud has grown to a shoot and at
least two leaves have hardened. It is then allowed to
grow for a further period of three to six months after
which they are transplanted. Under normal conditions,
success can be around 70-90 per cent.
and method of planting
Raising cocoa as a pure crop is not recommended especially
in Kerala due to high pressure on land. Cocoa is planted
as an intercrop in coconut and arecanut gardens. In
coconut, depending upon the spacing adopted, one or
two rows of cocoa can be planted in between two rows
of coconut i.e., two rows where the spacing is more
than 8 m and one row otherwise, the plant distance for
cocoa being 2.7 to 3 m. When two-row system is adopted,
the seedlings may be planted in zigzag or triangular
arecanut where the normal spacing is 2.7 m, cocoa is
planted at the centre of four areca palms along alternate
rows of interspaces only. Pits of 50 x 50 x 50 cm are
dug, allowed to weather for one month and refilled with
topsoil and 15-20 kg of compost or farm yard manure
to ground level. The planting hole should be sufficient
to hold the soil ball of the polybag. Tear off the polybags
carefully, place the soil ball with the seedlings in
the planting hole with minimum disturbance and press
the soil around firmly. Planting should coincide with
the onset of monsoon, but in places where irrigation
is resorted to, flexibility in the time of planting
of clonal plants derived from fan shoots
Budded plants from fan shoots have diffuse branching
system and bushy growth habit. This type of growth causes
difficulties in carrying out cultural operations and
harvesting. If a better shape of the plant is desired,
appropriate formation pruning may be necessary. This
involves identification of a chupon arising from a fan
shoot, allowing it to grow and removing the original,
lower fan-like shoots in stages. This, however, has
to be done slowly as an early drastic pruning will inhibit
Pruning and training
Cocoa grows in a series of storeys, the chupon or vertical
growth of the seedling terminating at the jorquette
from where four to five fan branches develop. Further
vertical growth is continued through a side chupon that
arises from a point just below the jorquette which again
jorquettes after growing to some height. Left for it,
the plant will grow to a height of 8-10 m repeating
this process of jorquetting and chupon formation 3-5
times. When cocoa is grown as an intercrop in coconut
and arecanut plantation, it is desirable to restrict
the growth to one tier formed at a convenient height
preferably above the head level of the workers. When
jorquetting takes place at lower levels this can be
raised by nipping off all the fan branches and allowing
one chupon to develop and grow further to jorquette
at the desired height. After this is achieved, further
vertical growth is arrested through periodical removal
intensity of pruning is to be decided by the nature
of growth of individual trees, shade intensity, growth
of the companion crops etc. In the early stages, pruning
is done to give a particular shape to the tree. After
the establishment of the trees in the garden, prune
them to the extent of retaining only the required number
of leaves (20-30 leaves per developing pod). Removal
of secondary branches from the centre should be restricted
only to those trees growing in excess shade.
This technique is useful to rejuvenate old and unproductive
cocoa plants and also to convert genetically poor yielders
to high yielders. This consists of snapping back the
desired trees below the jorquette after cutting half
way. The snapped canopy continues to have contact with
the trunk. A number of chupons would arise below the
point of snapping and this is triggered by the breakage
of apical dominance and continued connection with the
snapped canopy. Patch budding as described earlier may
be done on three to four vigorous and healthy shoots
using scions from high yielding, disease resistant clones
and the remaining chupons are removed. The polythene
tape is removed three weeks after budding and the stock
portion above the bud union is snapped back. The snapped
portion is removed after two hardened leaves develop
from the bud. When sufficient shoots are hardened, canopy
of the mother tree can be completely removed. Because
of the presence of an established root system and the
trunk with reserve food, the top worked trees grow much
faster and give prolific yield one year after the operation.
Though top working can be done in all seasons, it is
preferable to do it in rain-free period in irrigated
gardens. For rainfed situations, it may preferably be
done after the receipt of pre-monsoon showers.
worked trees start yielding heavily from the second
year onwards. About 50 per cent improved yield is obtained
in the second year and about 100 per cent improved yield
in the third year. Loss of crop for one year during
the operation is compensated by bumper crop in the coming
years. The main stem will continue to belong to the
older plant and fruits borne on this area belong to
the poor yielder. Better yields are however obtained
from the fan branches of the high yielding clone used
for top working.
grows well as a rainfed crop under conditions of well-distributed
rainfall and irrigation is not necessary. If sufficient
moisture is not present in the soil due to prolonged
drought or failure of rains, irrigation is to be given
once in five days. Irrigation, however, helps in better
growth of plants and precocity in bearing.
Apply N:P2O5:K2O in two equal split doses in April-May
and September-October, @ 100:40: 140 g / tree / year.
N:P2O5:K2O may be applied @ 200:80:280 g / plant / year,
in trees yielding more than 50 fruits per year. Dolomite
@ 100 g / plant / year may be applied to plants from the
third year onwards.
irrigated conditions, the yearly dose may be split into
four and applied during April-May, September-October,
December and February-March.
1/3 of adult dose during the first year of planting,
2/3 during second year and full dose from the third
fertilizers in circular basins with a radius of 25 cm
during the first year. Gradually increase the radius
of the basin to 120 cm by the third year. Apply fertilizers
in the entire area of 1.5 m radius around the tree followed
by forking in.
showing zinc deficiency symptoms (narrowing of leaves,
sickle leaf formation, green vein banding, chlorosis
in the interveinal areas) should be sprayed with 0.5
to 1.5% ZnSO4 three times a year.
the first three or four years after planting, it is
essential to keep the field free from weeds. Maintenance
and regulation of shade should be carried out promptly.
During the establishment phase of the crop particularly
in summer, provide mulching with materials like chopped
banana sheath, coconut husk, cocoa husk etc. to conserve
moisture in conditions of direct insolation. A mature
cocoa plantation should form a proper canopy, which
will be dense enough to prevent weed growth. Operations
such as pruning and regulation of shade should be attended
to in time.
borer (Zeuzera coffeae)
Larvae burrow into the main stem of young plants and
fan shoots of older trees, causing drying up.
off and burn affected fan shoots. Spray carbaryl 0.1%
on the main stems of young plants as a prophylactic
squirrel (Funambulus sp.)
The squirrels gnaw the bronzing pods and extract the
beans along with mucilaginous pulp.
the crop just when bronzing is visible in the pod furrows.
Mechanical protection of the pods can be ensured by
covering them with punched polybags (150 gauge) smeared
with bitumen-kerosene mixture.
Rats are serious pests in densely planted coconut gardens
with cocoa as an intercrop. They inhabit the coconut
palm crowns and descend during night and cause damage
to pods. Nature of damage is similar to that caused
with anticoagulant rodenticides in the garden is recommended.
Rain-proof preparations are to be used. Tie fumarin
bars (rain-proof) on the base of an inner frond of coconut.
Set up bamboo traps with bow attachment on the crown
weevils (Myllocerus viridanus)
Adults skeletonise the foliage and this is serious in
young plants during July-September. Spray undersurfaces
of the foliage with fenitrothion 0.05%, quinalphos 0.025%
or fenthion 0.05%.
bugs (Planococcus citri and Rastrococcus sp.)
The bugs occur in cherelles, developing pods and shoots
and de-sap the tissues. This can be controlled by spot
application of quinalphos 0.025% or phosalone 0.1%.
Colonies of pink aphids occur ventrally on the leaves
of chupon shoot. Tender shoots are also damaged.
off the flaccid leaves along with the shoots and destroy
beetle (Popillia sp. and Leucopholis sp.)
Grubs feed on the roots of freshly planted seedlings
causing wilting. Apply carbaryl 10% DP at 10 g per pit
around freshly planted seedlings.
The pods are damaged by Helopeltis sp.
blight (Phytophthora palmivora)
The symptoms develop on the leaves and stem of the seedlings
or budded plants. On leaves, small water-soaked lesions
appear which later coalesce resulting in the blightening
of leaves. On stem, water-soaked linear lesions develop
initially and later turn to black colour. Stem infection
develops at any point on the stem causing the death
of seedlings / budded plants.
and destroy severely affected seedlings. Improve drainage
and adjust shade. Spray with 1% Bordeaux mixture or