I’m planting 50 acres of cocoa on a first instance, using beans from the Forastero specie.
I purchased the cocoa pods from the Sierra Leone Research Institute. The Institute is doing ongoing research on cocoa and also has a plantation. Their seeds are renowned for their good quality in Sierra Leone.
50 acres represents a third of what I ultimately intend to plant. I am starting small to ensure I trial the best practices possible in the plantation.
The first step in setting up the nursery was to create the infrastructure that would house the cocoa seedlings.
Wood had to be sourced from the forest and manure had to be acquired from a number of villages.
Second step, polybags (that were manufactured by a Freetown company) were filled up with the manure.
Third step, the pods were opened and two local women were recruited to plant two seeds per bag.
In the process, we also planted moringa seeds, a plant with numerous health benefits that I intend to grow and possibly sell.
Seedlings need to be watered daily before 10am and after 5pm.
4 weeks later, and the seedlings have already grown:
In about 5 months time, they will be ready to be planted!