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 trees.
Make heaps of what you have cut down and arrange the heaps in rows.
It is better not to burn all the vegetation you cut.

Leave it on the ground.
It protects the soil against erosion and sun.
It rots and makes humus.
If you have to burn the vegetation you have cut, you must sow a cover crop.

Next, go through the plantation a second time:
Now cut down all the trees which might give some disease to the cocoa trees.
And cut down also all trees that give too much shade.

But leave those large trees which can give no disease to the cocoa trees, and which give a little shade.

When the cocoa trees have grown taller, they need less shade.
You should gradually give them less and less shade.
You should prune the big trees and cut off those branches that cast too much shade.
When the plantation is well cared for, you can cut down all the big trees.
When the cocoa trees have grown, it is better to get rid of the unwanted shade trees by using tree-killing chemical products. This way causes less damage than cutting them down.

In Cameroon, for example,
  • Farmers always remove the following trees:
    Local nameBotanical name
    AtuiPiptadeniastrum africanum
    TômErythrophloeum guineense
    EbaéPentaclethra macrophylla
    EyenDistemonanthus benthamianus
    AsamUapaca staudtii
    AbemMacrolobium or Berlinia
    EsabemMacrolobium limba
    EngôkômMyrianthus arboreus
    AsengMusanga cecropioides
  • Leave in the plantation:
    AkomTerminalia superba
    AtolFicus vogeliana
    EvouvousAlbizzia ferruginea
    EsakAlbizzia fastigiata
    EkoukAlstonia boonei
    EtengPycnanthus kombo
In Ivory Coast
  • Farmers always remove the following trees:
    DabemaPiptadeniastrum africanum
    SambaTriplochiton scleroxylon
    BâlaChildovia sanguinea
    Aiya, KotibéNesogordonia papaverifera
    ColaCola nitida
    EhémanCorynanthe pachyceras
    CakouaCola spp.
    Boto, KotokiéSterculia tragacantha
    FromagerCeiba pentandra
    Akogaouan, ObaBombax spp.
    Grand WounianMyrianthus preussi
    BléblendouTreculia africana
    InékichébiRauwolfia vomitoria
  • Leave in the plantation:
    AdashiaTrema guineensis
    IrokoChlorophora excelsa
    OuangrainAllophylus africanus
    Sipo, TiamaEntandro phragma
    Pri, Pousso ouéFuntumia
    AbaloCombretodendron africanum
    EmienAlstonia boonei
    Minghi, BahéFagara
    Oualébé NdéaPycnanthus angolensis
    Fraké, FramiréTerminalia
    AkouaAntrocaryon micraster
    ParasolierMusanga cecropioides
    LolotiLannea welwitschii
    Tchikué, TchikuébiBridelia

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