Organic Gardening 101

Cacao Growing in the Philippines

Cacao or Cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) belongs to family Sterculiaceae (alternatively Malvaceae). Its seeds are primarily used to make cocoa powder and chocolate.

The scientific name Theobroma cacao was given to the species by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Theobroma means “food of the gods” in Latin, and cacao is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word xocolatl, from xococ (bitter) and atl (water).

In the Philippines, particularly in Northern Mindanao, cacao farming seems to be a forgotten way of generating income. This is due to the fact that source of technical guides for growing this tree is somewhat scarce in the region. Not to mention, the tree’s palatability to insects and pests when not properly taken cared of and the lack of post harvest facilities nearby.

As I went to my hometown, I happened to see a considerable volume of Cacao seeds being sun dried by one of the town’s cacao grower. Observing the way they prepare the seeds for market, I realized that it is not easy as it may seem. The mere fact that you need to turn the seeds every 2 hours under the sweltering heat of the sun, will surely make you to think twice whether to plant this tree or not.

However, when I asked the owner why they still farming cacao trees amidst of the many difficulties and limitations in processing those cocoa seeds, he just looked at me and said “Working in the office for 8 straight hours is more strenuous than turning these seeds that will give me an income of no less than Php100/kilo.”

I was a bit mesmerized by his reply and decided to visit my father-in-law’s lonely cacao tree in his backyard. Curious as I am, I climbed the cocoa tree and harvested all the ripe cacao pods and have collected all the seeds in it and weigh.

This is my discovery:

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  • A single healthy pod could produce a minimum of 200 grams of dried cocoa seeds.
  •  A single cacao tree can produce an average of 20 healthy cacao pods.
  • On the average, each cacao tree can give you at least 3.5 kilos of dried cocoa seeds, which is equivalent to Php350 of additional income!

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Now, think of this – What if you have a total of 100 healthy cacao trees planted today?

In five years time, most likely you will start to have a passive gross income of at least Php35000 per month since cacao tree never stops bearing fruits as long that it is healthy.

This is the reason why I start growing cacao seedlings NOW.

Below are pictures of my 3 weeks old cacao seedlings. This is the yellow variety cocoa from my father-in-law’s Cacao tree.

 

Cacao growing

My 3 weeks old Cacao Seedlings

 

So, what is the future of Cacao Farming in the Philippines? To Answer Read << THIS >>

 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 at 1:31 pm and is filled under: Agriculture, Organic Gardening