The cocoa tree bears fruit on its trunk and branches.
They are called pods.
The pods contain seeds which are called cocoa beans.
The beans are made up of a seed coat, a kernel and a germ.
Cocoa needs a high temperature, plenty of water, and
air that is always moist.
Therefore, cocoa is grown in the hot and humid regions of Africa (mainly in forest regions), Central and South America, Asia and Oceania.
Cocoa bean cut in two
Three main varieties of cocoa are grown in Africa:
When Criollo pods are ripe, they are long, yellow or red, with deep furrows and big warts.
This variety does not produce as much as the others but the cocoa is of very good quality.
It is grown mainly in America.
The pods are short, yellow, smooth without warts, with shallow furrows.
This variety produces well, but the quality is not as good as Criollo. It is grown a lot in Africa.
This variety is a cross between Criollo and Forastero.
The pods are long or short, red and yellow.
It yields cocoa of fairly good quality.
People grow cocoa trees in order to sell the cocoa
beans that are in the pods.
The kernel of the cocoa beans is used to make cocoa and chocolate.
In the countries of Europe and North America people
eat a lot of cocoa and chocolate.
But the cocoa tree does not grow in their countries; they buy cocoa from Africa.
The countries of Africa earn a lot of money by selling
With this money, they can build schools and dispensaries, they can build roads and modernize the country. For Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, cocoa is an important export crop.
But to earn more money, these countries must sell good quality cocoa.
Sometimes they sell cocoa of poor marketing quality, badly harvested and badly fermented and dried.
Cocoa is better and fetches a higher price when it
has been properly harvested, fermented and dried.
In order to sell a lot of cocoa beans of good quality, the grower must:
Choose the seeds and grow the seedlings carefully.
Choose a good site for his plantation and prepare it well.
Look after his plantation continuously.
Harvest the pods and prepare the beans properly.