The Production Process Of Cocoa

Botanical name: Theobroma cacao

Origin:  South Africa, Brazil

Climatic and soil requirement:  Sunlight

Sunlight:  Cocoa requires a lot of sunlight for photosynthesis

Rainfall:  1000mm – 3000mm of rainfall per annum (annually)

Temperature:  About 25.50c with a daily variation of + 10 or – 100c and relative humidity must be high.

Soil requirement:  As a dicotyledonous crop cocoa requires a deep well drained soil that is free from hard pan.

Nursery: Cocoa seeds are usually grown/raised in polythene bag or other plastic containers at the nursery after which it is transplanted to field.

          Before cocoa seedlings are transplanted to the field there is need to cut the trees on the field and replace them with plant that provide shade for the seedlings.

Plants that can be used to provide shade include cocoyam, plantain, banana. These plants are used to provide shade because:

1.   They are easy to establish and eradicate

2.   They serve economic purpose

3.   They compete as little as possible with the main crop

Mulching: When cocoa seeds are sown in the polythene bag at nursery, there is need to mulch it to conserve soil moisture, to control erosion and to add more manure to the soil.

During mulching, give a gap of about 15cm radius to the base of the plant to prevent insects and other micro-organism from attacking the plants.

Transplanting:  Transplanting of cocoa seedlings to the field is done around June to July.

Spacing: The spacing required is 8.1m by 3.1m

Prunning: Pruning is done to control plant size by removing unwanted growth from the plants.
Sometimes, pruning is done to regenerate old trees, but it must be done carefully to avoid unnecessary injury to the plants and after prunning paint the cut surface to prevent attack of micro organisms.     

Weed Control:  Weeding can be done by using human labour or herbicides, it can also be controlled by plants by centrosema, calopogonium, puereria.

Fertilizer Application: If transplanting is done in June, apply ammonium suplhate in ring form in September. Do the same or repeat this process in the second and third year, discourage ring application after formation of canopy and do broadcast. Always weed before broadcasting.

Maturity and flowering: Flowering begins 3-5 years after transplanting, cocoa matures in 130 to 150 days from the time of flowering.

Harvesting: Harvesting is done when the pods are beginning to lose chlorophyll/ turning fellow. Harvesting is done fortnightly or every two weeks, unhealthy pods must be discarded during harvesting, cutlass or harvesting knife can be used to harvest cocoa.

Processing:

Stage 1:

Break the pod and remove the beans

Stage 2: Ferment the cocoa beans so as to

1.   Make drying easy

2.   Kill the embryo to stop germination

3.   Help remove musilage

4.   Develop flavor, aroma and colour

TYPES OF FERMENTATION

1.   Heap Fermentation: Put the beans in hole laid with banana leaves, cover with leaves and put heavy sticks over it, three days after open up and mix the beans together and cover with leaves again. After another three days repeat the process, leave it for three days after which you remove the beans from the hole for sun drying.

2.   Basket fermentation: This type of fermentation is the same as heap fermentation but basket is used as container instead of hole

3.   Sweat Box Fermentation: Here, three boxes are needed, cocoa beans are removed from each box at interval of three days after three days in the third box cocoa beans are removed for sundrying.

4.   Tray Method Fermentation: Here, fermentation is faster; usually it is over in four days. Trays with perforation underneath are arranged over each other but the last tray is not perforated and contains no beans. Apart from being fast, it does not require mixing of beans together.

DRYING

There are two methods of drying

a.    Natural Drying: In natural method of drying cocoa beans are put on slabs or tray and exposed to sunlight

b.   Artificial Drying: Artificial drying involves the use of Cameroun dryer to dry cocoa beans.

Grading: The present grade of cocoa is grade I and II

Grade I: They have 3% slaty beans less than 3% mould beans and less than 30% of other defectives.

Grade II: They have less than 5% slaty beans less than 5% mould beans and less than 5% of other defectives

Slaty beans are cocoa beans that are not properly fermented and they are blank in colour. 

    DISEASES OF COCOA

1.   Swollen shoot: it is a viral disease transmitted by meal bug

Symptoms: it appears 6 months after infection on the leaves

The vein becomes reddish, swells and noticed on the shoot of the plant where the attack is severe

Control:

i.             Use resistance variety

ii.           Eliminate the vector

2.   Black pod: it is caused by fungus (phytophthora palmvera)

It is usually high in areas with high rainfall

Symptoms:

1.   Small brown spot with irregular shape on pods which increases in size and gradually covers with white moulds.

Control:-

1.   Remove and discard infected pod

2.   Weed regularly

3.   Spray with copper based chemical

PESTS OF COCOA

1.   Myrids: It is a piercing and sucking insect and the most serious pest of cocoa. It kills young plants and causes damage to matured ones.

Control:

i.     Use chemical to spray the farm every five days because the myrid’s egg hatch in cooca and they lay their eggs every four hours

ii.   Practice farm hygiene

iii.  Shade management: This helps to reduce myrids occurrence, myrids feed in the night and rest during the day. Therefore, the shade brings darkness to the insects and stop the feeding.

USES OF COCOA

i.     It is used in making beverages

ii.   It is used for making cocoa butter

iii.  For making cocoa wine

iv.  For making soap

v.    For making cocoa polish

vi.  For making chocolate


RUBBER PRODUCTION

Botanical name: Hevea braziliensis

It is the best latex producing crop

Rainfall: not less than 200cm because the commercial product of rubber is water based. All other factors such as relative humidity, topography, altitude and soil affects rubber just like cocoa. 

Land Preparation: Trees of the field where rubber will be cultivated should be cut because rubber does not require shade on the field. Remove the roots and stump so as to avoid root diseases

Cover Crops: Cover crops can be established before or immediately after planting

Rubber passes through pre-nursery before transplanting, In the nursery, budding takes place and the following materials are used for budding:

a)    Budding knife

b)   Budding tape

c)    Bud of the plant

Post – planting operation

i.     Avoid the use of herbicides with seedlings because late flow could be affected with the use of herbicides

ii.           Establish cover crops

iii.          Carry out mulching

iv.          Supply water if need be

v.            Pruning

vi.          Apply recommended fertilizer e.g. N.P.K 15:15:15

vii.         Regular control of pests and diseases

Propagation

1.   Vegetative propagation is done around March to April or at the beginning rainy season

Pre-nursery is carried out between August and October

Nursery is done nine months after pre-nursery

Spacing:  4m by 5m

LATEX VESSEL

These are excretory vessels located at the cortex on the tree.

Stone cell:  These are new cells which cannot assume excretory function.

Sieve:  These are structures which are meant to sieve the latex

Renewed bark: Tapping of rubber is a controlled and scientific wounding to the bark.

If the bark does not regenerate tapping is not possible. Rubber has ability to heal the wound, after healing, the bark that is formed is called renewed bark.

Latex flow:  Generally, latex decreases from the trunk below the leafy branches. The velocity of latex flow is higher in the middle bark i.e. the older the virgin bark the better.

The first renewed bark yield more than the subsequent bark are the same height of tapping.

Rubber Tapping:

TAPPING PANEL SYSTEM

The direction of flow of latex is found to run from right to the left.

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