Introduction to the cocoa project

25 Sep


Weeding the cocoa project

1. Cocoa is a cash crop. Cocoa growing can be profitable if the right kind of cocoa is grown, it is properly raised in a seed bed, it is planted properly under enough shade and in the right kind of soil, it is cared for properly as it grows including proper pruning, weeding, mulching, fertilizing and protection from diseases and pests, and it is harvested and processed properly. Cocoa is produced in tropical countries, but is processed and consumed in temperate countries.
2. Cocoa is an under storey species from on the equatorial slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America but is now cultivated widely. Two thirds of the world’s production comes from West Africa and one third from Brazil and Dominican Republic. Cocoa has about 20 subspecies and cultivars are named according to the place where they were found or developed. The Criollo types have elongated, ridged, pointed fruits and white cotyledons. The Forastero types have with short, roundish, almost smooth fruits
and purple cotyledons (2n = 20). It is classified in the plant family Sterculiaceae and has the botanical name “Theobroma cacao L“. Some botanical names have “L” after them to show that they were named by the famous Swedish botanist Linnaeus (1707 – 1778). He believed that the ancient Aztecs of South America thought that the cocoa drink was a “drink of the gods”, in Latin “theo broma”. Mexicans named the pounded seeds “chocolate”. Cocoa is now grown in many hot wetlands including the Pacific islands, but it needs a rich deep soil so this tree cannot be grown on the coral atolls.
3. The seeds of cocoa called cocoa “beans” are used to make chocolate. Fermented seeds are roasted, cracked and ground to give a powdery mass. Fat is taken out to make cocoa. Cocoa has many uses including folk medicine. The seed contains energy, protein, fat, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. Chocolate is particularly high in phenylethylamine and contains more than 300 volatile compounds and theobromine, a stimulant related to caffeine (Theobromine does not contain bromine!). It contains some caffeine, in milligrams:
Cup: expresso coffee 310 mg, boiled coffee 100 mg, instant coffee 65 mg, tea 10 to 50 mg, cocoa 13 mg
Can: Coca Cola, 20 mg, Can (6 oz.) Pepsi Cola: 10 mg.


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