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Letters | 25 Apr 2012
Cocoa production falls with aging trees

Hello Sir,
When referring to the disadvantages of hybrid cocoa currently promoted by the Cocoa Development Corporation (SODECAO),you said the farms must be renewed after thirty years of production, but there are traditional cocoa farms dating back fifty years and continue to produce. You also told me that the hybrid cocoa produces a ton (1000 kg) of cocoa per hectare while the traditional cocoa produces between 300 and 400 tons per hectare. I wonder if it ' is an error (300 kg instead of 300 tons) because I want to know the profitability of my project.
Aurelie Jeanne Ngo Nyobe - Limbe CAMEROON

Dear Aurelie,
This is an error; the traditional cocoa-farm produces about 300 to 400 kg and not 300 to 400 tons of commercial cocoa per hectare. As for hybrid cocoa, the yield is 1000 kg of commercial cocoa per hectare.
As concerns the renewal of hybrid cacao after thirty years of production, it does not mean that there is no production. This is simply because tree maintenance can be difficult because of their sizes. So, there will be a drop in production which is a consequence of aging trees. It should also be noted that the same phenomenon is observed in the traditional plantations you are talking about, and this decline in production does not mean a stop in production. Cheers

Techniques to have bright red colour palm oil
My husband and I are palm oil producers and we have a 6ha farm which started producing since 2005, but our buyers are mostly women who are always complaining about the quality of our oil. They complain of its excessive coagulation and its colour which to them is not very red.
1 How can one prevent the excessive coagulation of palm oil?
2 How can one get the bright red colour of palm oil?

BENDEKE Clarisse, Bertoua

Dear Clarisse,
The quality of palm oil is based on the quality of nuts used to produce the oil. To prevent excessive coagulation of palm oil, you should use ripe nuts and not decayed nuts during extraction. It is the same for the bright red colour of palm oil.
You should also be aware that the quality of the nuts depends on the respect for fertilization techniques. If your palm plants are not fertilized, try to apply palm production fertilizer: 0-0-36 + 11 (MgO) or potassium chloride (KCl) at a dose of 200 grams per plant. You can apply twice a year (March and October).

Addresses of cane rat breeders
The Agricultural Producers Cooperative which I represent as the President has made provision in its development plan to experiment cane rat farming, thanks to the information published in Volume 2 of The Collection of Technical Slips which I have been keeping since 2004. I would also like to solicit your assistance to obtain more information on cane rat breeders who could provide us with 14 animals including 2 males and 12 females to start farming.
While thanking you very much, I wish to extend to you our warmest greetings.

Paul B.

Dear Paul,
Usually, the parent stock of cane rats is sold in groups of four animals consisting of one male and three females. A group of animals is on average 60 000 FCFA. For more information please contact the following organisation:
- ANEAC (National Association of Cane rat Breeders of Cameroon) in Yaounde Tel: (237) 99 52 59 71 or (237) 77 61 08 96, BP 30348 Yaounde, peyoflorence@yahoo.fr
- IRAD (Institute of Agricultural Research for Development) Nkolbisson, Cane rat Rearing Project; BP 2067 Yaounde Cameroon, Tel / Fax: (237) 22 22 33 62/22 23 84 12
- FAPL (Littoral Agropastoral Farm): Tel:(237) 75 10 92 58/99 00 39 88/33 04 22 82, E-mail: fapl_gic@yahoo.fr.
- CED (Centre for Environmental Development), (237) 22 22 38 57

Pepper viral disease is incurab
I need your help. I planted pepper and for almost two months some leaves are turning black while others wrinkle and turn yellow. A close observation shows that the underside of the leaves has small items like whitish spider eggs. Consequently, I have plants which stagnate i.e. no longer producing new leaves and even when the plant flowers, the fruits are small and rounded. I first used Cyplandim insecticide but there was no change. Now I am using Cypercal but still there is no improvement. Instead, the blackening is increasing every day. What advice can you give me.
Ettien Tänze , Buea-Cameroon

Dear Ettien,
Stunting and darkening of your pepper plants are due to a virus attack, it is the viral disease also known as pepper mosaic, which is transmitted (caused) by a vector called whitefly. This vector, by feeding on leaves, carries disease from diseased plants to healthy plants.
Unfortunately, since this disease is caused by a virus, it is not curable. The only effective way is prevention, which involves making crop rotations on the plot and preventive treatments against the vector using an insecticide. You will have to remove and discard diseased plants from the farm, remove weeds that may harbour insects or viruses, avoid planting crops that can be contaminated such as peppers and beans, use fertilizers (manure or fertilizers) to increase plant vigour. This technique may be effective for the next planting.
According to your explanation, you've used two insecticides (Cyplandim and Cypercal) without success, it means that you probably have started the treatment when the disease was already there and since the virus cannot be cured, treatment has been ineffective.

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