Common Cocoa varieties
- Criollo: It is sometimes called the price of cocoas as it’s a very high-quality grade of cocoa with exceptional flavor and aroma. When Criollo pods are ripe, they are long, yellow or red, with deep furrows and big warts.
- Forastero (Amelonado): The pods are short, yellow, smooth without warts, with shallow furrows.
- Trinitario: This variety is a cross between Criollo and Forastero.
Preparation tips ahead of the planting season
- Cocoa requires deep, fertile soils with PH range 4.5-6.0 topsoil of 15cm, rainfall ranging from 1,250 to 2,000mm per annum well distributed throughout the year. Cocoa is easily hurt by prolonged drought.
- Land should be weed free, all unwanted trees should be removed
- Traditionally cocoa grows under a shade, such as natural shades provided by other trees. So in preparation of the land for planting you should pick land which will protect the cocoa from direct sun light and winds.
- Bananas should be planted to provide temporary shade and later Musizi trees should be planted to provide a permanent shade in the cocoa field
- A farmer needs to do field marking to be able to determine the optimum number of cocoa seedlings to be planted in a given area and enables attaining the right spacing
- Like coffee, cocoa is planted at a spacing of 10ft * 10ft (3m * 3m) square= 435 plants/acre, Plant shade trees (Musizi) at 40feet * 40feet (12meters * 12meters), Dig a hole of 2 feet (60cm) deep and 2 feet wide to allow proper root development, planted in free-draining soils
- Marked outlines should follow the contours across the slope to minimize soil erosion and that planting holes should be dug 1 month before planting to allow the soil to settle and cool.