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Module 3: Choosing and preparing the plantation site_Phase 3

SATCocoa Phase 3: Preparing to plant cocoa trees With traditional methods, planting is most often done in a haphazard way.
The cocoa trees are not planted in rows.
There is not the same distance between them. When the trees are too far apart, they do not use all the soil; when they are too close, they grow badly. Instead, you should always plant in rows. First mark the rows for the cocoa trees, leaving about 2.5 to 3 metres between rows.
Along each row, mark out with pegs the spots where the cocoa trees are to go.
Leave about 2.5 to 3 metres between trees. In this way you can plant about 1 000 to 1 600 seedlings per hectare.
Digging the holes
Before planting cocoa trees, the grower must dig holes in order to stir the earth and loosen it.
Dig the holes two months before planting the cocoa trees. When you are digging the hole, do not mix together the soil from above and the soil from below:
Make two separate heaps.
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Module 3: Choosing and preparing the plantation site_Phase 2

SATCocoa Phase 2: Clearing the site

In Africa, cocoa is grown in forest regions.
To make a plantation, you must clear the site.
But the cocoa tree needs shade, especially when it is young.

The traditional method is to cut down all the trees and to burn everything. But this is a bad method because: You destroy all the organic matter in the weeds, the leaves and the branches.You leave the soil bare to the sun or rain.The soil becomes less fertile.The cocoa trees are not protected from the sun when it is too strong.Sometimes growers put banana trees or taros into the cocoa plantation, to give shade for the young cocoa trees. If these are planted long enough before the cocoa trees, they give good protection.
But if they are planted at the same time as the cocoa trees, they do not protect the young cocoa trees well enough and they take nourishment out of the soil.

To give shade it Is better to keep a few of the forest trees.
You should cut first all the tall weeds, the creepers and the small tre…

Module 3: Choosing and preparing the plantation site_Phase 1

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SATCocoa Phase 1: Choosing the site

If a cocoa tree is to grow well, it needs more than anything else a soil of good structure,permeable and deep.The cocoa tree has tap-roots.
The tap-root descends straight into the soil.
The branch roots go down very deep.
But many small branch roots also grow near the surface.
If the soil is of good structure and contains much humus, the roots penetrate well.
You can improve the soil structure by spreading manure and working it into the soil.
If the soil is deep, the roots can go down to a good depth.
Never plant cocoa trees in soil with a lot of stones, or in soil where there is some hard layer.


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Module 2: Choosing seeds and growing seedlings_Phase 4

SATCocoa Phase 4: Lifting seedlings from nursery beds

1/ Six months after sowing, when the seedlings have two leaves, take the young cocoa tree seedlings out of the nursery beds.
If you wait too long, the seedlings will be too old and will not grow so easily.Remove the seedlings from the nursery beds with a spade.
Be very careful not to break the roots.
Sort out the young cocoa seedlings.
Throw away diseased seedlings and badly grown seedlings.
Use only the healthiest seedlings.
2/ If you have sown your seeds in baskets, place the baskets in holes dug in the plantation.
There is no need to remove the basket, as it will rot in the earth.

If you have sown your seeds in polyethylene bags, remove the bag.
Place the ball of earth with the seedling into the hole.

Module 2: Choosing seeds and growing seedlings_Phase 2

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SATCocoa Phase 2: Choosing seeds

If you want to have fine cocoa trees which produce a lot of big pods, you must choose carefully the seeds you are going to sow.

1/ If you choose your own seeds:
choose the biggest pods from the trees which bear a lot of fruit.The good quality of the tree and of the seed enters into the new plant, which will also yield many big pods. The best seeds for sowing are those from the middle of the pod.
2/ Sow the seeds as you remove them from the pod.
Never keep the pods more than one week, otherwise the germ may die.
If the germ is dead, the plant will not grow.


3/ In some countries cocoa seeds are often sown directly in the plantation, that is, where the trees are to grow.
But this is a bad way of sowing, for many of the plants will not grow, and you cannot choose the best seedlings.
Take the bean from the middle of the pod

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Module 2: Choose seeds and growing seedlings_Phase 3

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SATCocoa Phase 3: Sowing seeds in nursery beds or in baskets


A good grower should sow cocoa seeds in nursery beds: Choose a small plot, quite flat, with light and rich soil. If the site is near a little stream, watering will be easier.
Till the soil fairly deeply, and break up all the lumps of earth so that you get a fine tilth.
Do not push the seed in too deeply, otherwise it will not have enough air and will not grow well.

Make beds of soil 120 centimetres wide: Leave a little path of 60 centimetres between one bed and the next, so that you can walk between the beds.Take a piece of string and mark out little furrows in each bed.Leave 25 centimetres between one furrow and the next.In each furrow, leave 25 centimetres between seeds.Do not push the seed in too deeply, otherwise it will not have enough air and will not grow well.

Cocoa seeds can also be sown in baskets or bags.
When the seedlings are lifted from the nursery bed, the roots may break and little earth remains around the roots.
To a…

Module 2: Choosing seeds and growing seedlings_Phase 1

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SATCocoa Phase 1: Choosing seeds and growing seedlings

The grower can buy at research centres
either selected seeds of good qualityHe sows the seeds in a nursery bed or in baskets. Later, he plants out the seedlings in the plantation.
or young seedlings of good qualityHe plants them straight away in the plantation.
Some growers have no research centre nearby.They can nevertheless have good cocoa plantations by:

¬ choosing their own seeds,
¬ sowing their seeds in a nursery bed,
¬ planting out their seedlings in the plantation.


Nursery bed is the name for the place where the seeds are sown to make them germinate.



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Module 1: Growing Cocoa_Phase 3

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SATCocoa Phase 3: Why cocoa is grown



People grow cocoa trees in order to sell the cocoa beans that are in the pods.
The kernel of the cocoa beans is used to make cocoa and chocolate.
In the countries of Europe and North America people eat a lot of cocoa and chocolate.
But the cocoa tree does not grow in their countries; they buy cocoa from Africa.
The countries of Africa earn a lot of money by selling their cocoa.
With this money, they can build schools and dispensaries, they can build roads and modernize the country. For Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, cocoa is an important export crop.
But to earn more money, these countries must sell good quality cocoa.
Sometimes they sell cocoa of poor marketing quality, badly harvested and badly fermented and dried.
Cocoa is better and fetches a higher price when it has been properly harvested, fermented and dried.
In order to sell a lot of cocoa beans of good quality, the grower must: Choose the seeds and grow the seedlings carefully.Choose a goo…

Module 1: Growing Cocoa_Phase 2

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SATCocoa Phase 2: What Varieties of cocoa can be grown in Africa?


Three main varieties of cocoa are grown in Africa:
Criollo
When Criollo pods are ripe, they are long, yellow or red, with deep furrows and big warts.This variety does not produce as much as the others but the cocoa is of very good quality.It is grown mainly in America. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Forastero (Amelonado) The pods are short, yellow, smooth without warts, with shallow furrows.
This variety produces well, but the quality is not as good as Criollo. It is grown a lot in Africa. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Trinitario
This variety is a cross between Criollo and Forastero.
The pods are long or short, red and yellow.
It yields cocoa of fairly good quality. --------------------------------------------------------------------
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Module 1: Growing Cocoa_Phase 1

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SATCocoa Phase 1: Cocoa is grown on trees

The cocoa tree bears fruit on its trunk and branches.
They are called pods.
The pods contain seeds which are called cocoa beans.
The beans are made up of a seed coat, a kernel and a germ. Cocoa needs a high temperature, plenty of water, and air that is always moist.
Therefore, cocoa is grown in the hot and humid regions of Africa (mainly in forest regions), Central and South America, Asia and Oceania.


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