How to grow cacao plants

How long does it take for a cacao tree to produce fruit?

Growing a cacao tree — the plant whose pods are made into chocolate — takes patience. It takes three to five years for a cacao seed to become a fruiting tree.

Where does cacao grow best?

Most cacao is grown in Africa but cacao is now also cultivated in a tropical belt worldwide. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are the world’s top two producers, followed by Indonesia, Nigeria and Cameroon. Other producers include Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and many countries in Central America and the Caribbean.

Is Cacao easy to grow?

Cacao trees are not easy to grow, especially if you want to cultivate them outside of their natural environment. Occasionally growers keep them as houseplants. But it is very difficult to provide them with the proper light and humidity levels indoors, and they often won’t ever produce seed pods.

How do you take care of a cacao plant?

What is the best fertilizer for cacao?

Different soils have different fertilizer needs.

  • on the more sandy soils, along the coast, use compound fertilizer, which contains nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potash: fertilizer formula 13-10-15;
  • on the more granitic soils of the interior, use another compound fertilizer: formula 12-15-18.

How much water does a cacao tree need?

Depending upon rainfall, the cacao will need between 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of water per week. Don’t let it get soggy, though.

How long do cacao trees live?

A young cacao tree grows rapidly, but it won’t begin to produce beans until it’s about five years old. A cacao tree can live up to 100 years, but most trees only provide marketable cacao beans for about 25 years.

What conditions does a cacao tree need to grow well?

The cacao tree will not grow in arid climates as they require humidity, good soil drainage, and regular rainfall.

How many beans does 1 cacao tree produce?

The thick shelled cacao pod contains “mucilage”, a sweet white pulp that surrounds the bitter cocoa beans. Each tree produces about 20 pods and each pod contains between 20 and 60 seeds or beans. In order to produce one kilogramme of cocoa paste about 10 pods are required.

What do you call the fruit of a cacao tree?

The fruit, called a cacao pod, is ovoid, 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in) long and 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in) wide, ripening yellow to orange, and weighs about 500 g (1.1 lb) when ripe. The pod contains 20 to 60 seeds, usually called “beans”, embedded in a white pulp.

How big do cacao trees grow?

Each pod contains 20 to 40 beans. Approximately 400 beans are required to make one pound of chocolate. How much space does a cacao tree need to grow? Cacao trees grow 15 to 25 feet (4.5 – 6 m) tall and need an area of about 15 square feet (1.4 square meters).

What climate does cacao grow in?

Cacao trees only prosper under specific conditions, including fairly uniform temperatures, high humidity, abundant rain, nitrogen-rich soil, and protection from wind. In short, cacao trees thrive in rainforests. Chocolate is now grown around the globe—typically within 10° north and south of the equator.

Is it legal to grow cocoa plants in the US?

Cocoa beans do indeed grow in the USA, but only in very limited areas. There is a narrow band known as the Cocoa chance or the Chocolate Belt. In fact, there is a burgeoning chocolate industry happening in Hawaii today. South Florida, unlike Hawaii, doesn’t have any commercial cocoa plantations.

How much does a cocoa farmer get paid?

The average cocoa farm will produce one or two tonnes of cocoa beans a year; one tonne is 16 sacks of cocoa. The average farmer will make between $1,400-$2,000 profit a year, at most about $5 a day, which will need to support 6-10 dependants.

Why are cocoa farmers paid so little?

As a result of low yields due to poor farming practices, aging trees and limited access to inputs such as fertilizer and planting materials. The average cocoa farmer’s income is significantly below the World Bank’s extreme poverty line of USD 1.

How much does a cocoa farmer make per day?

Cocoa farmers in Ghana make $1/day, while those in Côte d’Ivoire make around $0.78/day—both significantly below the extreme poverty line.

How many chocolate bars does 1 kg of cocoa make?

You can also visit a chocolate maker in your area or their website and beg them to sell you a 3 kilos of cacao- this can cost about $20 US dollars per kilo but it will yield you about 30 bars, 50 grams each, 70% chocolate.

How many chocolate bars can one cacao tree produce?

Each tree produces approximately 30 pods a year. Each pod contains roughly 40 cocoa beans. It takes approximately 500 beans to make 1 pound of chocolate, so therefore each tree produces about 2 pounds of chocolate a year.

Can I grind cacao nibs into powder?

Since cacao nibs are the whole form of cacao powder, you can make them into cacao powder simply by grinding them. This can be done with a food processor or a coffee grinder.

Which country has largest cocoa production in Africa?

About 70 percent of the world’s cocoa beans come from four West African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are by far the two largest producers of cocoa, accounting for more than 50 percent of the world´s cocoa.