As we all know that the demand for cocoa seed is extremely high at the international market and the international price is quite encouraging to farmers. The crop is a perennial crop which is planted once and the harvest keeps coming, year in year out depending on the management practices. The cocoa beans is one of the hottest agricultural product in the market anywhere in the world.
However, to establish a cocoa plantation, various factors need to be put into consideration. This includes; climate of the locality, average rainfall per millimeter, temperature, humidity, and type of soil and planting material.
For optimum production or productivity, rainfall could actually be supplemented with modern irrigation in cases of erratic rainfall. For optimum performance, 1250 to 3000mm per annum of rainfall is required. The dried up period must not be further than three months. Cocoa trees are susceptible than other tropical crops to moisture stress.
Based on the required temperature, 30 to 32oC is considered favorable for crop performance. Humidity has to be taken in consideration too. High humidity can lead to the spread of fungal diseases which may affect the growth of the cocoa crop and the storage and drying of it could be at risked also.
As a soil scientist, a variety of soil types could be favorable to the cocoa plant. The soil ought to be such as allowing uncomplicated access of roots able of retaining dampness during warm season of the year. Clay loams and sandy loams are also appropriate. Although, it is strongly recommend to carry out a soil physiochemical analysis at the beginning of the project; especially when the size of land is more than five hectares. At planting, the potting mixture and type of sowing must consist of farm yard manure, sand and soil in identical magnitude to propagate the cocoa seedlings.
Considering the mode of propagation, cocoa can be propagated sexually (seed) and asexually (vegetative manner). Cocoa seed can be raise into seedlings; seeds of grown-up pods are taken from lofty yielding mother plants which should generate one hundred pods per year.
At harvest, a cocoa seed can naturally lose its viability 7days after harvest if not properly store or process. Therefore, proper storage is the key to avoid this from happening.
NOTE: The best time to sow seeds in the nursery is during the month of December to January and it is strongly advisable to site your nursery very close to your farm.
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