Cocoa growers seeking international certification of their trees

Colorful cocoa pods have to be harvested gently and handled with care before they are opened to expose the bean. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería photo

Cocoa growers in Costa Rica want the nation to join the International Cocoa Council. Some 300 growers, technicians and other interested parties are meeting today and tomorrow in Upala to discuss that and other items of importance to the industry.

The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería said that joining the international organization would help growers here and would permit growers to label their product as fine or flavored cocoa. The international organization, which is related to the United Nations, is in the process of considering proposal for a project aimed at improving the marketing competitiveness for this type of cocoa.

Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería photo Unlike other fruits, the cocoa pod grows directly on the truck of the tree, and must be harvested with care to avoid damaging the plant.

Other countries also produce this type of cocoa, including Colombia, Dominica, Ecuador, Granada, Indonesia, Jamaica, Madagascar, New Guinea, Perú, the Dominican Republic, Santa Lucía, Santo Tome and Príncipe, as well as Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

The Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia grow about 74 percent of the world production, which was about 3.4 million tons in 2008, said the ministry.

The cocoa council also is a research source and can provide genetic help to establish Costa Rican cocoa as the fine variety. Such a designation would mean a better price.

The council at its 85th regular meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador, earlier this month also considered the problem of cadmium in cocoa and authorized a workshop in London.

The European Union has passed a stringent law on cadmium content, and cocoa growers are seeking to find out more about the problem. The council not only represents growers but also consuming nations.

Costa Rican growers in March submitted legislation to the Asamblea Legislative so that the country could join the council. The meeting today and tomorrow is in Rancho Santa Fe.

Cocoa, of course, is the source for chocolate. Cocoa trees produce pods that contain the beans,which, when dry, are roasted. To get one kilo of chocolate requires hundreds of beans.

The United States is the world’s biggest importer using about 32 percent of the world’s harvest every year, said the ministry.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.