[Beginners Guide] How to Grow Cacao in the Philippines - Agrolearner.com
How to Grow Cacao in the Philippines

[Beginners Guide] How to Grow Cacao in the Philippines

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is a tropical tree native to the Amazon basin and grown in many countries throughout Central and South America. In the Philippines, cacao is now being grown in various regions, from the lowlands to the uplands and from the coastal plains to the highlands.

Growing cacao in the Philippines requires you to select a suitable planting site, and acquire the best cacao variety. Prepare the planting site, cacao seed planting, cacao plant management, and harvesting.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to successfully grow cacao in the Philippines, providing you with the right information needed to make this agricultural venture a rewarding endeavor.

How to Grow Cacao in the Philippines Step By Step Guide

Cacao is an important crop in the Philippines, providing many economic benefits to local farmers. Cacao is a versatile crop that can be grown in a variety of climates, making it ideal for the Philippines. Growing cacao in the Philippines requires an understanding of the steps involved which have been carefully discussed below.

Step 1. Selecting a Suitable Planting Site

When selecting an ideal location to plant cacao in the Philippines, you need to consider some factors. It is important to ensure that the cacao plants are exposed to a minimum of 8-10 hours of sunlight each day.

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Cacao cultivation requires humid and warm climates for successful growth. Rainfall is one of the most important factors in the successful production of cacao. The ideal amount of rainfall for cacao cultivation is between 1250 and 3000 mm per annum, with the ideal amount being 1500-2000 mm.

The soil in the location should be fertile well-draining, have good drainage, be rich in organic matter, and have a pH balance between 5.0 and 6.5 and it is important to maintain adequate levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil.

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The trees are sensitive to drought and must be watered regularly. Also, it is important to consider the impact of typhoons on cacao trees. Typhoons can cause the trees to dry out and can also damage fragile flowers and fruit. Windbreaks should be planted around the planting site to protect the trees.

Step 2. Acquiring the Best Cacao Variety

when selecting cacao variety to plant in the Philippines, you need to be careful to select the best quality variety. Go for cacao seedlings that perform well in the climate and soil type of the Planting location. ensure you look for varieties that are resistant to the most common diseases in the area.

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Also, bear in mind that the different cacao varieties have different yields and harvesting times. So, consider your needs when selecting a variety. Cacao beans come in a variety of flavors, from sweet to bitter. Choose a variety that will produce beans that fit your desired flavor profile.

However, some of the most popular varieties to plant in the Philippines are Criollo, Trinitario, and Forastero. Each variety also has different harvest times, so it is important to consider the weather patterns of the region when choosing the right variety.

Step 3. Preparing the Planting Site

You should prepare the soil before planting cacao in the Philippines by removing weeds and debris by hand or with a tiller to a depth of 6-8 inches. Afterward, you should amend the soil with compost, manure, and other organic matter to increase its fertility and improve drainage. Finally, you should add a layer of mulch to the surface of the soil to help retain moisture.

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Step 4. Cacao Seed Planting

Cacao seed planting is usually done by transplanting already-sprouted seedlings because it is faster than planting direct seedlings. The best time to plant is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Avoid planting seedlings with young, soft leaves, as they are prone to sunburn, shock, or stress. The ideal season for planting in the field is the start of the rainy season.

The size of the hole should be large enough to fit the soil ball; usually, this is 30 cm wide, 30 cm long, and 30 cm deep. When digging the planting hole, separate the surface soil from the subsoil, ensuring that the soil is loose enough to allow for easy and rapid root growth.

After digging the planting hole, fill the hole up to 15 cm from the surface and carefully place the seedling in the hole. Then, fill the hole with soil, press it down gently, and water the soil.

Step 5. Cacao Plant Management

Cacao Plant Management involves the selection of appropriate care methods and the implementation of best practices for production. These include:

Fertilizer Application

Fertilizer is an important part of managing a cacao plantation. Different types of fertilizers should be used depending on the needs and growth of the plants. Organic fertilizers such as compost and mulch can be used to provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Inorganic fertilizers such as chemical fertilizers can also be used to supplement the nutrient needs of plants. Additionally, soil amendments such as lime can be used to adjust the soil’s pH level and provide additional nutrients.

Watering

Proper watering is essential for the growth and development of cacao trees. Cacao trees require deep watering every 7-10 days, depending on the soil type and climate. In dry climates, the soil should be kept moist but not soggy. In wet climates, the soil should dry out between waterings. During the dry season, the trees should be watered more frequently, as this is when they are under the most stress.

Pruning

Pruning is necessary for maintaining the health of cacao trees and for promoting a good yield. The goal of pruning is to remove dead, diseased, and weak branches, as well as to open up the canopy to allow for better air circulation and sunlight penetration. Pruning should be done regularly throughout the year, though the timing and frequency may vary depending on the climate and soil type.

Weed Control

Controlling weeds is important for maintaining the health of a cacao plantation. Weeds can compete with the cacao trees for resources such as water and nutrients, and can also harbor pests and diseases.

To control weeds, a combination of mechanical, cultural, and chemical methods can be used. Mechanical methods involve physically removing the weeds, while cultural methods involve changing the environment to make the conditions less favorable for weed growth. Chemical methods involve using herbicides to kill weeds.

Pest and Disease Control

Pests and diseases can seriously damage a cacao plantation, so it is important to keep them in check. To control pests and diseases, various cultural, biological, and chemical methods can be used.

Cultural methods involve changing the environment to make it less favorable for pests and diseases, while biological methods involve introducing beneficial organisms to combat pests and diseases. Chemical methods involve using pesticides and fungicides to kill pests and diseases.

Step 10. Harvesting

To know if cacao is ready for harvest, look for pods that are yellow, pink, or red in color. Also, the pods should be firm and not hard. They should also be free from soft spots, pests, and diseases.

The most common method of harvesting cacao in the Philippines is manual harvesting. This method involves the use of a machete or other sharp tool to cut the pods from the tree. The pods are then collected and brought to a processing center or factory where they are then fermented, dried, and prepared for sale.

Varieties of Cacao in the Philippines

In the Philippines, you can find different varieties of cacao such as Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario. Criollo is known for its delicate flavor and aroma, while Forastero is hardy and resistant to pests and diseases. Trinitario is a hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero varieties and is a popular choice for its flavor and disease resistance.

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How Much Is Cacao Sold In the Philippines

Cacao is sold in the Philippines at different prices depending on the quality and market demand. On average, you can find cacao beans sold at around PHP 80 to PHP 120 per kilogram in local markets.

Best Agronomic Practices to Engage In Growing Cacao in the Philippines

To grow cacao in the Philippines, it is important to follow best agronomic practices, such as providing the right amount of shade, ensuring proper drainage, using high-quality planting materials, practicing good weed and pest management, and providing proper nutrition.

Proper pruning and regular fertilization are also important to ensure healthy growth and high yields.

Projected Profit of Cacao in the Philippines

The profitability of cacao farming in the Philippines depends on various factors such as the quality of the beans, market demand, and the efficiency of farming practices.

With proper farming techniques and access to markets, cacao farming can be profitable with potential returns of around PHP 100,000 to PHP 200,000 per hectare per year.

Common Diseases and Pest of Cacao in the Philippines

In the Philippines, common diseases and pests of cacao include black pod disease, vascular streak dieback, witches’ broom disease, and cocoa pod borer.

Treatment options for these diseases and pests include proper sanitation, regular pruning, use of resistant varieties, and proper pest management practices such as pheromone traps and biological control.

Different Propagation Method of Cacao in the Philippines

Propagation of cacao in the Philippines can be done through seeds, cuttings, or grafting.

Growing cacao from seeds is the most common method, but it can take several years for the tree to bear fruit.

Grafting and budding are faster methods of propagation, and can also ensure that the desired traits of the parent plant are passed on to the offspring.

Can Cocoa Grow In The Philippines

Yes, cocoa can be grown in the Philippines although the climate and soil type tends to make the process difficult but not impossible.

How To Grow Cacao At Home

  1. Purchase cacao seedlings or seeds from a reliable source.
  2. Plant the seeds or seedlings in a container with good soil and plenty of drainages.
  3. Place the container in a bright, sunny location with temperatures between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not damp.
  5. Fertilize the soil once a month with a balanced fertilizer.
  6. Prune the tree when it reaches a height of 10 feet or more to keep the plant from becoming top-heavy and ensure the tree will not topple over.
  7. Harvest the cacao pods when they are fully ripe, usually 4-6 months after planting.

Can I Grow Cacao In California

Yes, you can grow cacao in California. However, cacao is a tropical plant and requires a certain climate and environment to thrive, which is why it is typically grown in tropical and subtropical regions.

If you live in an area with a mild climate, you may be able to successfully cultivate cacao. However, it is important to research the specific requirements for growing cacao and ensure that your climate and environment meet the necessary criteria.

How To Plant Cacao Tree In The Philippines

  1. Choose a spot in your garden or patio that is sunny and well-drained. Cacao trees require full sun and good air circulation to thrive.
  2. Dig a hole that is twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the cacao tree.
  3. Place the tree in the hole and fill in the area around it with soil. Firmly pat down the soil around the tree.
  4. Water the tree deeply until the soil is saturated.
  5. Create a two-inch-high ridge of soil around the base of the tree to help retain moisture.
  6. Mulch the area around the tree with organic matter such as straw, shredded leaves, or grass clippings.
  7. Feed the tree with a balanced fertilizer or cacao-specific fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.
  8. Prune any dead or damaged branches as needed.
  9. Monitor the tree for pests or diseases and treat them accordingly.

How To Grow Cacao Beans

  1. Plant your cacao beans in well-draining, sandy soil in a sunny spot.
  2. Water your cacao beans regularly, but don’t overwater.
  3. Fertilize your cacao beans with a balanced fertilizer of 10-10-10 every six weeks.
  4. Prune your cacao beans to encourage better light penetration and air circulation.
  5. Mulch your cacao beans to help keep the soil moist and to control weeds.
  6. Harvest your cacao beans when they are ripe, usually 6-8 months after planting.
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Cacao How To Grow

1. Planting

Plant your cacao trees in a sunny, well-drained area with rich, organic soil. Plant your trees roughly 10-15 feet apart and at least 8 feet away from any other trees.

2. Watering

Water your cacao trees regularly, but avoid over-watering. Depending on your climate, you may need to water your trees every 2-3 days.

3. Mulching

Mulch your cacao trees with organic material like coconut or bark. This will help retain moisture in the soil and keep weeds away.

4. Fertilizing

Fertilize your cacao trees with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. This will help them grow and produce more fruit.

5. Pruning

Prune your cacao trees to remove dead or diseased branches and keep the tree healthy.

6. Harvesting

When the pods are ripe, usually in the late summer or fall, they will turn yellow or orange. Cut the pods off the tree and collect them immediately.

How Long Does Cacao Take To Grow

Cacao trees take anywhere from 3-5 years to reach maturity and begin bearing fruit. Once mature, a cacao tree can continue to bear fruit for up to 20 years.

Can You Grow Cacao In The UK   

You can grow cacao in the UK but it can be challenging to accomplish because Cacao is a tropical plant that requires temperatures consistently above 70°F (21°C) to thrive. The UK’s climate is too cold for cacao to survive.

Cacao Farm In The Philippines

Cacao farming in the Philippines is an important industry for the local economy and the global market. The Philippines is the world’s third largest producer of cacao beans, supplying around 2.5% of the world’s cacao production. Cacao farms are located in the provinces of Davao, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

Cacao farming in the Philippines is characterized by smallholder farmers, with most farms being less than 1 hectare in size and operated by a single family. Cacao is a versatile and hardy crop, allowing farmers to cultivate it in a wide range of conditions. The main cacao varieties grown in the Philippines are the Criollo, Forestero, and Trinitario varieties.

Cacao farming in the Philippines is labor intensive, requiring farmers to carry out a range of activities including soil preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting, and post-harvest processing.

Farmers in the Philippines are also increasingly using sustainable farming practices, such as using shade trees to reduce water consumption and using cover crops to improve soil fertility.

Cacao Production Guide In The Philippines Pdf

Cacao production in the Philippines is guided by the Cacao Production Guide for the Philippines, which provides comprehensive information on cacao farming, harvesting, post-harvest handling and processing, pest and disease management, marketing, and other topics. It also details various government programs and resources available to farmers.

How To Plant Cacao Seeds

  1. Gather mature, dry cacao pods.
  2. Separate the seeds from the pulp.
  3. Plant the seeds in a shallow container filled with moist potting soil, 1 inch deep.
  4. Place the container in a warm, humid location and keep the soil moist.
  5. After 4-6 weeks, the seeds should germinate and sprout.
  6. When the seedling has grown to a height of 8-10 inches, transplant them into larger pots or to their permanent location in the garden.

Cacao Production Guide Pdf

Cacao Production Guide PDF provides a comprehensive guide to producing cacao. It covers topics such as soil and climate requirements, propagation and planting methods, pest and disease control, harvesting and post-harvest handling, and marketing strategies. The guide also provides detailed information on the economics of cacao production, along with practical tips for successful cacao production.

Cacao Farming Income Philippines

Cacao farming is a major source of income for many farmers in the Philippines. The country is now the world’s third-largest producer of cacao beans, with a production of over 300,000 metric tons.

The farmers benefit from high prices, which have allowed them to invest in better facilities and equipment, improving the quality of their products. In addition, cacao farming has employed many rural communities, helping to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life.

Cacao Production Per Hectare In The Philippines

Cacao production average yield per hectare is around 500 kilograms of dried beans.

Cacao Business Plan

Cacao’s business plans should include an executive summary, market analysis, financial plan, operations plan, and marketing plan. The executive summary should provide a brief overview of the business, its goals and objectives, and its competitive advantages.

The market analysis should include information on the industry, target market, competitors, and potential customers. The financial plan should include start-up and operating costs, financial projections, and a funding strategy. The operations plan should include details on the location, staffing, production, distribution, and inventory. The marketing plan should outline the plan for promotion, pricing, and sales.

Cacao Industry In The Philippines 2021

The Philippines is the world’s fourth-largest producer of cacao, and the industry is expected to continue to grow in 2021. The country is known for its high-quality beans, which are used to make some of the world’s finest chocolate.

The government is actively promoting the sector, providing incentives to farmers, and investing in infrastructure development. The industry is also supported by research institutions, which are helping to improve the quality of cacao and increase yields.

With the increased demand for chocolate and cocoa products, the cacao industry in the Philippines is poised for further growth in 2021.

Conclusion

Cacao is a delicious and versatile crop that can be grown in the Philippines. The tropical climate of the Philippines provides the perfect environment for growing cacao trees. It is an easy crop to grow and care for, and with a bit of knowledge and dedication, anyone can successfully grow cacao in the Philippines.

Author: David

David is a Kenyan farmer from the rural village of Nairobi. Growing up, he was surrounded by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside, which sparked his passion for farming. After completing his education, he decided to pursue a career in agriculture and has since dedicated his life to providing food for his local community. David is an experienced farmer and is experienced in a range of agricultural practices, including crop rotation, animal husbandry and soil management. He is passionate about promoting sustainable agriculture and is actively working to reduce food insecurity in his community.

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