Cocoa Varieties at Cantagalo Farms
Besides the work on the genetics of our plantations over these more than forty years of cacao cultivation, we have developed a whole technology of practices that accelerate and increase productivity of the trees, like the use of mulch, and organic fertilizer, construction of terraces where topography is too rough, use of grafting of tree tops and grafting of seedlings in a period of 04 to 06 months of plantation. We are also implementing irrigation in the properties that provide hydric resources for such a practice.
Over time, we have identified the advantage of the usage of productive shafts in grafting,. Due to their physiological maturity, the grafts anticipate fruiting. This is a practice recommended by EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation).
In the course of ten years of modernizing its cocoa cultivation, Agrícola Cantagalo owns approximately 1,700,000 grafted trees of which 30% (510,000) have been re-grafted with high quality genetic material.
Five years ago implemented a thorough follow-up work of our main cocoa varieties. A monthly follow-up work was done on the varieties, from tree to tree (each variety represented by a set of 20 to 30 plants), in each one of our farms, keeping a record of healthy fruits, sick fruits, incidence of witch´s broom in pads and vegetation.
This systematic follow-up allowed the identification of varieties of greater productivity, of greater tolerance to the fungus, better seed size and better quality (not only with respect to pulp but also to seeds quality). We have also observed those of greater production in the early ripe, which made it possible for us to create an "escape strategy" with respect to the fungus itself. Nowadays, the 6 varieties considered as "outstanding" by us are:
1 – PS 13.19 (Encantada)
2 – FA 13 (Almada)
3 – PS 40.7 (Serra Grande)
4 – PS 10.30 (Oricó)
5 – FM 31 (Modelo)
6 – CA 1.4 (Cantagalo)
In these designations, the letters mean the initials of the farm of origin and the numbers - the sector and number of the tree, respectively. Varieties PS 13.19, FA13, FA 40.7 e CA 1.4 are already identified as 'fine cocoa' in our evaluation and through tests conducted by international buyers of cocoa.
Barry & Callebaut has already processed a container of our cocoa and supplied it to the German company STOLLWERK, producer of fine chocolate, which has used our cocoa and has sold tablets with the name "Brazil Mint".
Undertaken researches have identified the percentage of basic varieties of cocoa existing around the world: Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero, which make up the genetic base of our varieties mentioned above.
It is important to emphasize that we can supply amounts above 15 tons/year of each variety mentioned above, individually processed.
With support from the University of Campinas/São Paulo and its Institutes, we are currently conducting experiments in all 6 varieties, besides looking for guidance to further improve our processes of seed fermentation and drying.