How To Grow Cocoa In South Africa

[Beginners Guide] How to Grow Cocoa In South Africa

Cocoa is a tropical crop that is native to South America and is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa. The climate in South Africa is ideal for growing cocoa, with its warm temperatures, humid conditions, and abundant rainfall.

The key steps to successfully growing cocoa in South Africa include choosing the ideal location, acquiring the best cocoa variety, preparing the planting site, ensure you plant during the planting time, planting the cocoa, fertilizer application and watering, pruning, weed control, and harvesting.

Growing cocoa in South Africa can be a profitable venture, but it does require careful planning and management. In this article, we will discuss the steps needed to successfully grow cocoa in South Africa.

How to Grow Cocoa In South Africa Step By Step Guide

Cocoa farming is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa due to its potential for high yield and profitability. Cocoa can be grown in many different parts of the country and offers several opportunities for farmers.

To achieve the best results, it is important to be familiar with the growing steps.

Step 1: Choosing the Ideal Location

The most important factor when growing cocoa in South Africa is the soil type. Cocoa requires deep, well-drained, slightly acidic soil to grow successfully. The soil should also be free of any weeds or pests as this can damage the crop.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How To Grow Coconut In South Africa

Also, it is important to select an area that gets plenty of sunlight, as cocoa requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The location should have a warm and humid climate because it is well-suited for cocoa production, as cocoa trees require temperatures between 20°C and 32°C, and a yearly rainfall of 1000-2000 mm.

Step 2: Prepare the Planting Site

The next step is to till the soil to make it suitable for planting. Cocoa trees require deep, rich soil and good drainage. You need to clear the land by removing any existing plants, weeds, and debris from the planting site.

Till the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches and remove any large rocks or clods. Then work on the soil by spreading a layer of manure, compost, and/or chemical fertilizer to the soil.

Read Also: beginners guide] [How To Grow Apple in South Africa

Test the soil by conducting a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient levels of the soil. Amend the soil if necessary using lime to adjust the pH, and add any necessary nutrients.

Step 3: Acquire Cocoa Variety

As you plan to acquire the necessary cocoa beans to plant, ensure that you select cocoa beans with high quality. The quality of the seedling will determine the yield level. Also, the cocoa seedling should be disease resistant, helping to ensure that yields remain high.

Read Also:  How To Start Tomatoes Farming In South Africa [Beginners Guide]

Cocoa varieties are available at a local vendor or you can purchase from an online store. Ensure you vet the seedlings to be sure they are still good for planting.

Step 4: Planting the Cocoa

Once the soil is prepared, it is time to plant the cocoa tree. Cocoa trees can be planted in rows or clusters and should be spaced at least about 5ft. apart and should be mulched to ensure that the soil retains moisture. The cocoa pods should be planted at the beginning of the wet season, which is usually around November.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Grow Asparagus in South Africa

Step 5: Cocoa Plant Care

You need to care for your cocoa plant throughout the germination stage to ensure they grow properly.

Irrigation and Fertilizer Application

Once the trees are planted, they will require regular irrigation and fertilization. As cocoa trees grow, they will require more and more water and nutrients to produce a high-quality crop. Regular applications of compost or fertilizer are necessary to maintain healthy soil and trees.


Cocoa trees must be pruned regularly to remove dead branches and ensure optimal growth. Pruning should be done twice annually, in the spring and autumn. Pruning will also help to prevent disease and pests from taking hold in the cocoa trees.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Grow Raspberries in South Africa

Weed Control

Weeds can be removed by hand hoeing, or the use of an implement such as a grub hoe to manually remove weeds from the cocoa farm. This method is labor-intensive and may not be feasible for larger farms. Also, herbicides can be used for weed control on cocoa farms. Also. you can use natural predators such as insects or animals to control weeds.

Step 6: Harvesting

Cocoa harvesting in South Africa usually takes place between April and November. During this time, farmers hand-pick the ripe cocoa pods from the trees and then split them open with machetes to expose the cocoa beans. The beans are then removed from the pods, left to ferment and dry in the sun, and then packed in sacks for sale.

Varieties of Cocoa in South Africa

In South Africa, there are several varieties of cocoa that are grown, including Trinitario, Criollo, and Forastero. Trinitario is a hybrid variety that is well-suited to South Africa’s climate, while Criollo is a high-quality but less productive variety.

Forastero is a hardier and more productive variety but produces lower quality cocoa beans. The choice of variety depends on factors such as climate, soil type, and market demand.

How Much Is Cocoa Sold In South Africa

The price of cocoa in South Africa varies depending on factors such as market demand, quality, and supply.

Generally, cocoa is sold at a premium price due to its high demand in the food and beverage industry.

The price of cocoa also fluctuates due to global supply and demand factors, as well as currency exchange rates.

Best Agronomic Practices to Engage In Growing Cocoa in South Africa

To grow cocoa in South Africa, you should engage in best agronomic practices such as proper soil preparation, planting in the right season, appropriate fertilizer application, and pest and disease management.

Proper soil preparation involves clearing the land, removing weeds, and adding organic matter to the soil.

Cocoa should be planted during the rainy season, and fertilizer should be applied at appropriate rates to ensure optimal growth.

Pests and diseases should be monitored regularly and treated promptly to prevent damage to the crop.

Projected Profit of Cocoa in South Africa

The projected profit of cocoa in South Africa depends on various factors such as the size of the farm, market demand, yield per hectare, and production costs.

Read Also:  [Beginners Guide] How To Grow Okra In Zambia

However, cocoa farming has the potential to be profitable in South Africa, especially with proper management practices and access to markets that pay premium prices.

Common Diseases and Pest of Cocoa in South Africa

Some common diseases and pests of cocoa in South Africa include black pod disease, cocoa swollen shoot virus, capsids, and mealybugs.

Black pod disease can be managed by proper sanitation, pruning, and the use of fungicides.

Cocoa swollen shoot virus can be prevented by planting resistant varieties, while capsids and mealybugs can be controlled by using appropriate insecticides and cultural practices.

Different Propagation Method of Cocoa in South Africa

Cocoa can be propagated using various methods such as seed germination, stem cutting, and grafting. Seed germination is the most common propagation method and involves planting cocoa seeds in a nursery and transplanting the seedlings to the field.

Stem cutting involves cutting and planting stems of mature cocoa trees, while grafting involves combining a desirable variety of cocoa with a rootstock to produce a new plant.

The choice of propagation method depends on factors such as availability of planting material and desired traits in the new plants.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to grow Butternut in South Africa

Where To Buy Cocoa Beans In South Africa

Cocoa beans can be bought in South Africa from local supermarkets, health food stores, and specialty shops. Additionally, many online retailers such as Amazon, Takealot, and Faithful to Nature offer cocoa beans.

In addition to online retailers, cocoa beans can also be purchased directly from cocoa bean farms and plantations in South Africa.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Grow Pineapple in South Africa

How To Grow a Cocoa Tree

Step 1. Obtain a cocoa seedling from a reputable nursery. Cocoa tree seedlings are usually sold in 2-3 inch pots.

Step 2. Plant the cocoa tree in a sunny and well-drained location in your garden.

Step 3. Water the cocoa tree regularly, but make sure the soil does not become soggy.

Step 4. Fertilize the cocoa tree once a month with a balanced fertilizer.

Step 5. Prune the cocoa tree to encourage healthy growth and remove dead branches.

Step 6. Mulch the cocoa tree base with an organic material such as straw or grass clippings to protect the roots and retain moisture.

Step 7. Protect the cocoa tree from pests and disease by spraying it with a pesticide and fungicide.

Step 8. Harvest the cocoa pods when they are mature, usually after 8-12 months.

Wholesale Cocoa Beans in South Africa

Several companies in South Africa offer wholesale cocoa beans. Some of the most popular are:

1. Cacao Trading Company

This company is based in Cape Town and supplies cocoa beans of the highest quality from around the world. They offer organic and conventional cocoa beans, along with a broad selection of chocolate products.

2. Montezuma Chocolate

This company is based in Johannesburg and provides cocoa beans from all over the world. They offer organic, fair trade, and conventional cocoa beans.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Grow Vegetables in South Africa

3. Soga Trading

This company is based in Johannesburg and supplies cocoa beans from around the world. They have organic, fair trade, and conventional cocoa beans.

4. Cacao Territory

This company is based in Cape Town and provides cocoa beans from all over the world. They have organic, fair trade, and conventional cocoa beans.

5. African Origin Chocolates

This company is based in Johannesburg and supplies cocoa beans from Africa. They offer organic, fair trade, and conventional cocoa beans.

How Are Cocoa Beans Grown

Cocoa beans are mainly grown in tropical climates around the world, especially in West African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon. The beans are grown in the shade of the dense rainforest canopy and can take up to five years to reach maturity.

Read Also:  [Beginners Guide] How to Sprout Lentils

Cocoa trees are planted in well-drained soil, usually along the edge of the forest or in open spaces within the forest. The trees are usually planted in a mix of organic matter, such as leaves and compost, and watered regularly to promote healthy growth.

The pods that contain cocoa beans are harvested by hand and split open to retrieve the beans. They are then fermented, dried, and either sold as beans or processed into cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and other products.

Can Cocoa Grow in South Africa

Yes, cocoa can grow in South Africa. Cocoa is a tropical crop and thrives in warm, humid climates. South Africa has areas along its eastern and western coasts that provide the right conditions for growing cocoa.

The country has a long history of growing cocoa and is currently the world’s fifth-largest cocoa producer.

How To Grow Cocoa Tree from Seed

  1. Start by gathering cocoa tree seeds. The best time to get the freshest cocoa tree seeds is during the wet season.
  2. Soak the seeds in warm water for a period of 24 hours. This will help to soften the outer shell of the seed.
  3. Plant the seeds in a pot or container filled with well-draining soil.
  4. Plant the seeds around half an inch deep and ensure they stay moist.
  5. Place the pot or container in a warm, sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
  6. Water the seedlings regularly and keep the soil moist.
  7. Once the seedlings are about 6 inches tall, you can transplant them into larger pots or the ground.
  8. Cocoa trees need a lot of water and fertilizer, so make sure to water them regularly and fertilize them every 3 months.
  9. The cocoa tree should start to produce pods within 2-3 years.
  10. The pods will take up to 6 months to ripen, so be patient!
  11. When the pods are ripe, you can harvest them.

Cacao Tree for Sale South Africa

Unfortunately, cacao trees are not commonly available for sale in South Africa. The climate in South Africa isn’t suitable for growing cacao trees and the cost of shipping plants overseas is usually prohibitive.

However, you may be able to find some local nurseries that carry cacao trees and the necessary supplies to help you grow the tree from seed. Additionally, there are a few organizations in South Africa that specialize in providing cacao trees and plants to customers.

How Is Cocoa Grown and Harvested

Cocoa is grown in tropical climates around the world. Cocoa trees are grown in well-drained soils in areas that receive plenty of sunlight and moisture. The trees are usually planted near the shade of taller trees and grown in small clusters.

The cocoa pods, which contain the cocoa beans, must be hand-harvested because the pods ripen at different times. The pods are usually collected twice a year, in the dry and wet seasons.

The harvester will cut the ripe pods from the tree with a machete and then crack them open to extract the beans. The beans are placed in large baskets and brought to a central processing facility, where they are fermented and dried before being sent to manufacturers.

How Many Cocoa Trees Per Acre

The exact number of cocoa trees per acre depends on the farming system used, the soil and climate conditions, and the cultivar of cocoa trees being grown. Generally, cocoa farmers plant between 200 and 400 cocoa trees per acre.

How to Grow Cocoa Plants at Home

  1. Purchase a young cocoa tree. Cocoa trees are available from specialty nurseries or online.
  2. Plant the cocoa tree in a large container filled with a mixture of equal parts potting soil, compost, and sand. Plant the cocoa tree in the center of the container and fill in around the sides with the soil mixture.
  3. Place the cocoa tree in a warm, sunny spot in your home or on your patio.
  4. Water the tree regularly, making sure that the soil is always moist but not soggy.
  5. Feed your cocoa tree with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
  6. Prune the cocoa tree as necessary to keep it at a manageable size and shape.
  7. Harvest your cocoa pods when they are ready, usually after 6-10 months.

Cocoa Cultivation PDF

Cocoa cultivation is the production of cocoa beans, used primarily in the manufacture of chocolate. Cocoa is grown in tropical climates, with the majority of production in Africa, followed by Asia and the Americas.

The production of cocoa is a labor-intensive process, with farmers tending to the trees and harvesting the beans from the pods. Proper cultivation is essential for good yields and quality beans and includes fertilization, pruning, and pest control.


With proper care and attention, cocoa trees can be successfully grown in South Africa. With the right variety, soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, and pruning, cocoa trees can produce high-quality cocoa beans to be used in a variety of ways.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Alert: Content selection is disabled!!