UPDATED: APRIL 18, 2013 06:05 IST
More research is needed to add value to cocoa, said Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University K. Ramasamy here on Monday.
To integrate the research and development efforts, an organisation is required for cocoa at the South-India level, he said while inaugurating a two-day seminar on “Cocoa Development in India – Issues and Strategies.”
Cocoa was cultivates as an intercrop in South India along with coconut and arecanut trees and rubber. TNAU had taken up a joint research with Cadbury India Limited in 2008 to address some of the problems faced by cocoa growers and to develop new high yielding varieties and technologies that would help farmers to get higher yield.
“TNAU scientists have already identified 10 clones that have a yield potential of more than three kg dry bean a tree a year. These cocoa clones will be evaluated under five different agro-ecological regions of Tamil Nadu for further studies,” Mr. Ramasamy said.
He added that in view of the research and development support being extended by TNAU, the government should sanction a Centre of Excellence for Cocoa to the university. It could be operated at two coconut research stations in Aliyar Nagar and Veppankulam.
Satyabrata Sahoo, Director of National Horticulture Mission and Commissioner of Horticulture, Tamil Nadu, said that the four lakh acre under coconut cultivation could be used to grow cocoa as an intercrop.
The Vice-Chancellor released Sahara, a publication in Hindi, prepared by the Directorate of Cashew Nut and Cocoa Development, and Processing and Value Addition of Cocoa prepared by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.
He distributed awards to best performing cocoa farmers of Southern India.