COFINA S. A. through its social responsibility Project called CACAO NATIVO and its sustainability team has set up three experimental plots in La Carmela, San Antonio and Estero de Caña in Vinces, Los Rios province, Ecuador.
Several cultural activities have been performed in these experimental plots in cocoa plantations with ages ranging from 20 to 100 years. Many of these plantations have become unproductive over time and others are prone to various diseases which are common in these crops as the Witch Broom, Moniliasis and Black Pod which can be infectious foci for other plants.
Initially, more than 100 grafts have been carried out on each of the experimental plots in an area of 10.000 m2, using stem cuttings from the same “COCOA Arriba” plantations. The most productive, tolerant and disease resistant trees were identified, in order to reproduce them and achieve a plantation of selected trees that in the medium term, will be highly productive, rejuvenated and of the Arriba variety. This variety is already generally known, has a protected designation of origin and is the pride of all Ecuadorians, but unfortunately it has been lost in time due to the replacement either by other varieties or other crops.
The type of graft we made is called “bark grafting ” in suckers or in the shoots. As experience shows, better results and a higher percentage of positive results of grafting are obtained this way and also it can benefit from the structure of the root already formed in the mother plant and thus its development will be faster and the production is very premature.
The ancient trees can be cut once the grafting has developed and is six months old showing flowering and turgid leaves. The new cocoa plant, this is the grafting, is in full development and then it can grow in adequate conditions and the shade of the ancient plant will not interfere with its phototropism nor competes for water and nutrients.
This procedure is well known by the professionals in the area but completely unknown by small farmers that grow cocoa. Well aware of this reality, COFINA S. A. has the compromise to teach and train them in these type of practices in order that in time they can recuperate their Arriba Cocoa plantations and make them productive again and guarantee its permanence in time and continue to make Ecuador as a country differentiated by quality and a leader in the export of fine or flavor cocoa.
Redacción: Renato Proaño Triana (COFINA S. A.)
Fotografía: Renato Proaño Triana (COFINA S. A.)