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true fermentation as acids rather than alcohols are the final product. When ripe, the Amelonado pods (see Fig. 2.5) typical of West Africa and much of Brazil are a pleasing bright yellow colour. Pods of other types are of different colours and shapes (see Table 2.2).

Climate, Growth and Cropping of Cocoa

Areas where rainfall is limiting are unlikely to be successful for cocoa: it requires 12503000 mm of rainfall per annum, with a dry season of no more than 3 months (a dry month meaning one when less than 100 mm of rain falls in that month). The mean maximum temperature should vary between 3032°C and the mean minimum between 1821°C with an absolute minimum of 10°C; at 5°C growth probably ceases and death of the plant may result from a short exposure to 0°C. Cocoa prefers areas with high relative humidity. A hot, moist climate will favour the growth of cocoa and in areas with no dry season, cocoa will develop more quickly than in locations where growth may be slowed, or even stopped, by low temperatures or drought conditions.

Countries offering continuous growing conditions (Malaysia and Indonesia, for example) have a considerable advantage over those in which growth is regularly checked due to dry seasons, which can sometimes be severe, even in areas favourable for cocoa cultivation. Cocoa does not thrive on poorly drained soils, very sandy soils, shallow soils or soils of very low fertility. The soil depth should be at least 1.5 m, with a good structure, being a mixture of clay and sand and about neutral in terms of acidity. Soils with a good surface layer of organic matter are to be preferred. Reasonable yields require reasonable levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus to be available in balanced quantities.

For young cocoa, some temporary shade will always be needed for the first few years to ensure the right growth of the young cocoa trees. Low light (high shade) levels encourage tall, thin trees; high light intensities tend to cause the opposite. Different species of temporary shade at different planting plans will be successful in different cocoa growing environments. Suitable permanent shade can be provided by forest trees left standing at the time of land preparation the so-called thinned forest shade. Alternatively, permanent shade can be provided by selected fast growing tree species planted on a regular pattern; legumes are ideal as they provide nitrogen. Again, the spacing and the species will depend on the local situation. In some circumstances, shade can be dispensed with altogether for mature cocoa, as long as the cocoa can obtain adequate nutrients and moisture throughout the year. Higher yields (and probably a shorter economic life of the cocoa tree) can be expected under such conditions, though in cocoa areas where sap-sucking insect pests are a problem it may well be that some shade should still be provided as this seems to often reduce insect attacks.

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