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Cocoa from SVG will be of the highest quality in the world – Officials

Cocoa from SVG will be of the highest quality in the world – Officials

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It may be a drop in the ocean, but officials at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cocoa Company predict that the quality of cocoa coming from this country would be of the highest quality in the world.{{more}}

During a press briefing last Thursday at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room in Kingstown, Ruth Maloney of Armajaro Trading predicted that when St Vincent and the Grenadines is up and running as a cocoa producer, this country should be yielding between two to three hundred thousand tons of cocoa.

She said that this amount is nothing compared to the four million tons per year produced on the world market, but what it would lack in quantity, it would make up for in quality.

“But the cocoa we will produce here will be of the very highest quality. It will really be premium cocoa, and farmers here will be receiving prices much higher than farmers in Africa or Latin America… so we are really aiming for the top of the market,” Maloney told the media.

The Armajaro representative said that it is hoped that by this year, 500 acres of lands would be dedicated to cocoa production.

Currently, two hundred acres have already been committed to cocoa production, and Maloney indicated that there are 80,000 seedlings, which are enough to plant about 181 acres of cocoa.

Maloney said that it’s just a matter of time before the trees start bearing fruit, which would result in financial benefits for the close to 100 farmers planting the fruit.

“The cocoa is about 15 to 18 months old and we think in the next couple months it would start bearing fruits…. We have already started to see flowers bearing on the trees, which is very encouraging.

“What we are trying to do with farmers is that every tree gets 20 pods per tree and that would mean that we’re getting around about 1,600 pods per acre, which is around about EC$4,000 an acre.”

She noted that farmers can get their trees to produce more pods, but this calls for meticulous pruning.

This sentiment was echoed by Andrew Hadley, general manager of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cocoa Company, who urged farmers to treat the process as a serious business, as he called on other farmers to come on board.

“I’ve seen trees in St Vincent with 160 pods, with 180 pods, so let’s go further: if you can achieve 100 pods per tree, per acre you’re getting over $20,000 per acre per year as a farmer. So, when people tell me there’s no money in cocoa, I really disagree with that; it’s how you manage your field; it’s how much you put into those cocoa trees,” Hadley said.

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