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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Cocoa is the dried and partially fermented fatty seed of the cacao tree from which chocolate is made.

  • "Cocoa" can often also refer to the drink commonly known as hot chocolate.

  • There are over 20 species in the genus but the cocoa tree Theobroma cacao is the only one cultivated widely.

  • Cocoa being a tropical crop, India offers considerable scope for the development. Cocoa is mainly grown in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Growth and Cultivation

  • Young cocoa trees only thrive in tropical temperatures within the protective shadow of tall-growing plants such as banana plants or palm trees.

  • Both the burning sun and the strong winds are merciless enemies of this fragile tree.

  • The cocoa tree flowers in two cycles of 6 months the whole year round.

  • Average rainfall of 1250-3000 mm. per annum and preferably between 1500-2000mm. with a dry season of not more than 3 months with less than 100mm. rain per month is ideal, but the quantity is less important than distribution. Rainfall can be supplemented with irrigation during dry months.

  • Temperature varying between 30-320C mean maximum and 18-210C mean minimum but around 250C is considered to be a favourable. It canít be grown commercially in areas where the minimum temperature fall below 100C and annual average temperature is less than 210C.

Production

  • Production of cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, has expanded and increased sharply during the twentieth century. Cocoa is produced by more than fifty developing countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America Ė all of which are in tropical or semi-tropical areas.

  • It is estimated that 70% of world cocoa production comes from small holdings.It is estimated that there are currently 2.5 million cocoa smallholders.

Benefits

  • Cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.

  • The ingestion of flavonol-rich cocoa is associated with acute elevation of circulating nitric oxide, enhanced flow-mediated vasodilation, and augmented microcirculation.

  • Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure.

  • Cocoa seeds are processed into cocoa powder for use mainly to make chocolate and cocoa butter. Cocoa pulp can be eaten fresh or made into cocoa juice.

  • It may be used in cakes, creams, drinks, toppings.

  • Besides its use as a food, scientists discovered cocoa is beneficial for health. Cocoa has twice the anti-cancer antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times those found in green tea.

Market

  • The economic growth of many of the Least Developed Countries is closely linked with cocoa production, as well as other primary commodities. Many producer countries depend on cocoa exports for a large part of their foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.

  • Cocoa prices are highly volatile. Global demand for cocoa is expected to be strong going forward. Cocoa demand has been growing at an average rate of 3.7%.

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