Mumbai: Cadbury India Ltd, today announced an extensive cocoa research project in partnership with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University to help promote cocoa cultivation in the state.
The research project is part of the Cadbury Cocoa partnership established to help secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa farmers and their communities in India and other cocoa growing areas.
The research project will focus on improving cocoa farmer incomes, by helping them increase their yields through superior planting material, disease resistant varieties and produce top quality beans. Through research materials it will support the Tamil Nadu government's efforts in promoting cocoa as an inter crop in coconut to increase the income of farmers.
According to experts, five hundred cocoa plants can be planted in one hectare as inter crop in coconut with improved varieties come to yield in three years. The farmers can get an additional income of about Rs40,000 from one hectare of cocoa plantation by inter cropping in coconut / areca nut plantations.
The project also plans to introduce location specific practices for local farmer communities by understanding the impact of geographical variations in the region.
Speaking on behalf of Cadbury India, K P Magudapathy, associate vice president, Cocoa Operations said, ''Through this research project in Tamil Nadu, Cadbury is looking to partner the state government by supporting cocoa farmers and help develop cocoa production in an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable way.''
In 2007, Cadbury had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tamil Nadu government's department of horticulture to enhance the cocoa cultivation in the state through National Horticulture Mission. Cadbury has extended buy-back guarantee, minimum support price and technical advice for the benefit of the farmers.
Cocoa is mainly used for production of chocolates, health drinks, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries and is globally consumed. It prefers 50 - 60 epr cent shade and is normally raised as an inter crop in coconut and areca nut plantations. India has around 75, 000 acres of cocoa farmland with a production of 9000 to 10,000 metric tonnes.