As part of a joint project with farms in Brazil, cacao is now being cultivated in a semi-arid climate. The aims were to discuss the potential for cultivating cacao in these regions, and to improve the production systems.
Initial highly Promising Results
- Very good yields of over 3 t of dried beans per hectare show that it is possible to cultivate cacao successfully in the semi-arid zone.
- There is further potential for lowering costs and improving yields by improving tree architecture and rootstocks, and optimising overall cultivation techniques.
- Cacao plants are well suited to drip irrigation.
- In the semi-arid climate disease pressure is low, and insect pest-pressure was easily controllable.
CocoaFlo Plant Model
CocoaFlo is a newly developed plant model from Syngenta which calculates the following functions of the cacao plant: generation and use of assimilates, production of biomass, phenology, and growth and die-off of the various organs.
The plant is quantified on the basis of five different organ groups: fruits, leaves, taproot, lateral roots and trunk. Weather conditions (temperature, radiation, atmospheric humidity, wind speed, precipitation), the most important soil properties, and aspects of crop management are included as external variables.
The model can be used to calculate the effects of irrigation, shading or different planting densities on the productivity of the cacao plants.