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Brazil wants to be self-sufficient in cocoa by 2025

Posted by Rafael Moro

Image: Pixabay

Brazil, which was once the largest producer and exporter of cocoa, is now the seventh producer and one of the great importers. The almond that originates the chocolate had a significant drop due to a combination of factors: lower prices on the international market, pests, weather conditions, government economic policies and lack of credit. The witch's broom alone caused production to drop by about 85%.

Now the threat is cocoa moniliasis (Moniliophthora roreri). After an outbreak was detected in Acre, the state plus Rondônia and Amazonas are in quarantine to prevent the spread. Fungal disease can destroy 100% of production and is devastating to plants.

In the 2020/21 harvest, 213.5 thousand tons were processed in the period, a 15.4% drop in almond production. The Brazilian goal is to achieve self-sufficiency in cocoa by 2025. There is currently a deficit to meet domestic demand in the order of 70 thousand tons.

A group of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture visited the cocoa production in Pará, in the Transamazônica region, which concentrates the largest amount of cocoa planted area in the state and also the one with the highest productivity, and the municipality of Tomé-Açu.

The team visited the José Haroldo Genetic Resources Station (ERJOH) and the Paulo Morelli Experimental Station (ESPAM), visiting cocoa cooperatives and producers in the region, nibs and chocolate factories.

The José Haroldo Genetic Resources Station, located in Marituba, Pará, houses the largest cocoa germplasm bank in the world, where more than 53,000 species collected over several years are preserved alive.

"I was impacted by the potential of the cocoa chain in the state, precisely because we have the largest germplasm bank in the world, with more than 2 thousand accesses, which means more than 2 thousand cocoa plants that keep the genetic richness of the species", highlights the secretary of Innovation, Rural Development and Irrigation, Fernando Camargo.

In addition to getting to know the Trans-Amazon region, which is the largest cocoa producer in Pará, responsible for more than 80% of the state's production, the group spoke with various actors in the production chain to understand the main challenges.

“We managed to hold meetings with the state, with the president of the federation, we talked to producers, we visited cooperatives and factories. We were able to understand the needs and we are going to cooperate for the maintenance and growth of cocoa production in the country and seek to increasingly strengthen Ceplac's research, especially regarding the best use of the germplasm bank”, said the director of the Executive Committee of the Cacao Farming Plan (Ceplac), Waldeck Araújo.

The Transamazônica is formed by the municipalities of Novo Repartimento, Pacajá, Anapu, Vitória do Xingu, Altamira, Brasil Novo, Medicilândia, Uruará, Placas, Rurópolis and Itaituba, which together have more than 155,900 hectares of cacao trees, around 18,000 cacao farmers and produced more than 100,000 tons of cocoa in 2020. The Northeast region of Pará, comprising the municipalities of Santa Isabel do Pará, Santa Bárbara do Pará, Castanhal, Acará and Tomé-Açu, has 10,325 hectares of cocoa trees. In 2020, the region, which has 2,550 cacao farmers, produced around 4,000 tons of almonds.

By: Eliza Maliszewski | Agrolink

This text was automatically translated from Portuguese.