Cacao production will be boosted in El Salvador

Three types of high-quality cocoa plants prepared in the laboratory and arising from research on 200 farms nationwide will be grafted onto crops to give a new boost to the grain harvest in the country, reported the National Center for Agricultural Technology (Centa).

According to Eufemia Segura, researcher of the Centa Fruit Trees and Cacao program, the technological plan aims to disperse «elite germplasm» so that producers can take their crops to maximum yield.

«From Centa, the strategic research program is implemented for technology transfer in its areas of influence. This year, three Salvadoran cocoa clones will be released, with promising production and quality characteristics to improve plantations through grafting» — she said.

She added that the objective of creating the cocoa bank is «to prevent our cocoa heritage from being lost.»

The institution prepares a nursery with 50,000 plants already evaluated that will be delivered to producers, thus establishing a route to meet national demand.

Data from Centa, indicates that El Salvador is one of the main cocoa consumers in Central America and that 90% of the product consumed is imported, mainly from Nicaragua.

The document «Advances and challenges of the cocoa sector in El Salvador», published last January by the Alianza Cacao El Salvador and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), highlights that El Salvador imports 1,000 tons of cocoa and by-products per year, an equivalent of $20 million, while exports barely reach 32 tons per year.

The same report indicates that the country has some 86,901.5 hectares of land suitable for cocoa cultivation in Santa Ana, Sonsonate, La Libertad, Cuscatlán, La Paz, San Vicente, Usulutan, San Miguel and Morazán.

According to the MAG, 42 farms are registered in the country, including 35 farms with high quality cocoa. National production reaches 500 tons per year. In 2019, the institution counted a total of 8,493 cocoa producers in El Salvador, with 10,332 manzanas and a productive area of ​​1,403, of which 363,091 quintals were harvested annually.