Cocoa Cultivation

Filling poly bags in the cocoa nursery

Cocoa seedlings

90% of cocoa plantations - Cameroon's most popular cash crop - are less than three hectares.

Young cocoa trees

Cocoa trees are typically 12-15 m high when mature, and occur naturally in the lower level of the tropical evergreen rainforest. When cultivated they are grown utilising thinned forest shade, or planted shade trees. In the early stages they can be shaded with temporary shade such as bananas or pigeon peas.

Shade conditions to protect cocoa from direct sunlight

This sequence of photographs shows the stages in propagating and developing cocoa trees through to the time that they can produce pods.

Young cocoa tree with banana providing shade

The soil needs to be deep and rich and well drained and normally be less than 700m above sea level, otherwise strong winds will damage the crop.
click to see information about the MACEFCOOP area terrain

MACEFCOOP Factory Manager Tabe Christopher with cocoa tree

The leaves may be 300mm in length. Trees start bearing pods after 2 to 3 years, but it is 6 or 7 years before they give a full yield.

Cocoa flowers

Click to see information about how the cocoa is harvested.

Cocoa flowers and very young pods (Cherelles)

Developing cocoa pods

Developing cocoa pods

Cocoa is grown in equatorial latitudes between 20° north and 20° south: these can provide the required consistently high average temperature of 27°C or more throughout the year together with a constant high humidity as a result of more than 1500mm rainfall per year.
click to see information about the MACEFCOOP area climate

Cocoa pods

Ripe cocoa pods; these contain 20-60 seeds (9 beans).