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Added: 2 weeks 6 days ago
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ON THE FARM: Why the quality of Cocoa has an effect on its price
The quality of cocoa, which is determined during pre and post-harvest periods of the crop, influences its price on the international market.

Kibwana Yakobo lives in the humble hamlet of Buganditere in Bundibugyo District. He is one of the farmers who has adopted the raised method of drying cocoa for quality control.

Kibwana says that during the rainy season, he ferments for 5 to 6 days.

For other cocoa farmers, they use the ground to dry cocoa, which experts discourage.

The pre and post-harvest practices by farmers determine the quality of cocoa produced.

Harvesting involves removing ripe pods from the trees, the pods are harvested manually by making a clean cut through the stalk with a well-sharpened blade without damaging the branch that bears it.

 

After cocoa pods are opened to remove the beans within a week to 10 days after harvesting and a cutting tool, such as a machete, is advised to be used to split the pod, though this can damage the beans.

Sometimes the pods are transported and are fermented before splitting.

If the pods are opened in the planting areas, the discarded husks can be distributed throughout the fields to return nutrients to the soil.

 

After extraction from the pod, the beans undergo a fermentation and it can be carried out in a variety of ways. However, all methods depend on removing the beans from the pods and piling them together or in a box to allow micro-organisms to develop and initiate the fermentation of the pulp surrounding the beans.

 

According to Francis Balikamanya an expert in Cocoa quality control, Cocoa beans are dried after fermentation in order to reduce the moisture content from about 60% to about 7.5%.

Before placing them in bags for delivery, Balikamanya warns on mixing cocoa with other products.

He also warned farmers not to use chemical fertilisers because chemicals have an effect on the quality of their produce, he advised farmers to use organic fertilisers.

 

 

Next week on the farm we will examine the role of Bundubugyo Cocoa cooperative Union towards emancipating farmers in the area.