With the first seedlings ready for sale, S.C.I.D.I. and SKIA would like to share some information about the characteristics of our cocoa seedlings.
- Our cocoa seedlings have a proven and known parentage. The pods containing the seeds used to grow the trees we sell were collected from specific plantations, and in many cases from trees selected for their above average yield, apparent resistance to disease and their variety.
- Together with the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) and Massey University in New Zealand we are aiming to scientifically determine the true varieties of the trees we collect seed pods from. That is what our genotyping project is all about. Check out the blog entry on geneotyping for more information.
- Our STEC/SKIA nursery uses a substrate mix of of river sand, topsoil, compost and shredded fibre that ensures seedlings grow a healthy and thick stem and develop a strong root structure.
- Our seedlings are grown for 4 months in the nursery, to allow the roots and foliage to grow to sufficient size to survive being planted in the field. The plants will have straight taproots around 20 cm long, and will be up to 80 cm tall, with large leaves and a strong and straight stem.
- Cocoa trees with well developed taproots and a straight stem are less likely to get destroyed in a cyclone than cocoa seedlings which had deformed taproots when they were planted, which meant the growing cocoa tree could never anchor itself properly in the ground in the first place.
- Fewer losses when planting. Our plants are big and healthy, so they are more likely to survive the shock that comes with being planted out on the farm, than the smaller cocoa seedlings we see offered for sale. This also means you do not have to keep replacing dead seedlings constantly.
Altogether, pretty compelling reasons to ensure the cocoa seedlings you purchase for your plantations have been grown under Best Practice conditions.