ceratopogonid midges are now believed to be the main pollinating insects.To maximise returns, it is essential to have a knowledge of the different types, varieties and cultivars of cacao available so that you can decide which type/variety grows best in a particular environment. We will now look at the different types of cacao.6.2.3 Types and varieties Cheesman (1944) divided the cultivated and wild cacaos into three main groups based on Venezuelan trade names. CriolloAmazonian ForasteroTrinitarioThese are described below.Criollo: Pods of this type are yellow or red in colour when ripe with 10 deep furrows. They are markedly warty, conspicuously pointed and thin and will compress (crack) under pressure. Seeds are large, plump and almost round in section.Criollo beans ferment quickly when processed but yields are low. However, the beans produce the highest quality cocoa, and as only small quantities are available in the world market they therefore fetch premium prices. Criollo cacao is subdivided into two varieties or cultivars.1.Central American Criollo:This variety can be identified by the fact that the unripe pod wall is predominantly green in colour, turning yellow when ripe.2.Venezuelan Criollo: The unripe pod wall is usually red in colour, but exhibits a greater variation in colour, size and shape of pod because they occur nearer the centre of origin.3.Amazonian Forastero: This is the most common type of cacao grown or produced by growers. It can be recognised by the fact that pods are not as
Unit 6: Production of Plantation Crops 6.34 deeply grooved as the criollos, and in some cases the pods may even be smooth. Ripe pods are green or yellow in colour and the wall of the pod is very thick and woody. These pods are also shorter and more rounded.There are also two groups of Forestero cacaos.1.Amelonado: Amelonado cacao possess yellow pods, with flat seeds and deep purple seed leaves inside the seed. The quality of the cocoa produced is lower than other types. It makes up, however, the bulk of the world’s cocoa, since the quality its highly uniform.2.Fine Forastero: This cacao possesses plumber (rounded) seeds with paler cotyledons or seed leaves inside the seed. Of the two, Amelonado is the best or better variety to grow because it is hardy, more vigorous, and yields well.3.Trinitario: Trinitario cacao is probably a result of cross breeding between Criollo and Forastero cacaos. It is very heterogeneous with pods having characteristics of both Criollo and Forastero types. Since it is heterogeneous (variable), it may be useful in breeding programmes aimed at improving productivity and other yield related characteristics.Even though the above cacao types or varieties have different characteristics, they generally have similar requirements for optimum growth in terms of climate and soils. Many countries in the South Pacific have planted cacao on the wrong sites with consequent poor production.