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The cocoa world met in Peru

  • CATIE was present at the meeting sharing research on cocoa genetic improvement and cocoa agroforestry management

December 4, 2017. CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) shared with the cocoa world at the International Symposium on Cacao Research (ISCR 2017). An event that was held by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), in collaboration with the government of Peru, from November 13 to 17, to analyze the latest advances and innovations in technology, share information and agree on common strategies to accelerate the development of the world’s cocoa sector.

The objective of the symposium was to provide a platform for the cocoa community and scientists dedicated to cocoa research to study the latest findings in this field and encourage greater collaboration among researchers, as well as establishing priorities for collective action.

According to Wilbert Phillips, leader of CATIE's Cacao Genetic Improvement Program, this is the most important cocoa event at the international level, so for CATIE it represented a great opportunity to increase its visibility and publicize its work.

CATIE shared in the symposium the results and advances of five researches:

  • Revealing the genetic diversity and parentage of the cacao clonal series UF, CC, ARF and PMCT kept in the CATIE´s International Collection (IC3). It summarizes a molecular work as well as what is locally known about the series of mentioned clones, which are of global relevance and for which CATIE is the universal reference and custodian. 
  • Adopting reference genotypes to identify off-types in cacao collections. Corresponds to an international effort led by the University of Reading, in England, to genetically improve the cocoa collections. 
  • New resistant cocoa selections from Costa Rica have fine aroma potential.Highlights the quality potential of the clones that have been developed at CATIE. 
  • Generation of cacao clones with durable resistance against frosty pod rot (Moniliophthora roreri). It shows because of moniliasis, the most aggressive disease of cocoa and in intense expansion in the world, the studies to accumulate genes of resistance to the disease acquire great international relevance in two ways: creating varieties with durable resistance to be delivered to the farmers and sharing advanced improvement lines to countries at risk to be used in preventive improvement. 
  • Effect of microclimatic variables on the onset of symptoms and signs of Moniliophthora roreri for three cacao clones in a range of incomplete resistance. It compares the development of moniliasis, the appearance of symptoms and sporulation for three cocoa clones in a range of incomplete resistance (Pound-7, CC-137 and CATIE-R4) to understand the influence of different microclimatic variables in this development.


The representation of CATIE was composed by Phillips, who was also a member of the Scientific Committee of the symposium and responsible for the subject of pests and diseases; Allan Mata and Mariela Leandro, researchers of the Cocoa Genetic Improvement Program; Eduardo Somarriba, leader of the Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program (PRAGA); and Rolando Cerda, PRAGA researcher.  

After the symposium, the INCOCOA meeting was also held, this is an initiative that brings together specialized working groups on topics such as diseases and pests (INCOOPED), genetic improvement (INGENIC), agroforestry and environment (INAFORESTA), soils (INCOSOM), among others.  

In the INAFORESTA group, which is led by CATIE, Somarriba spoke about the background and achievements of the group, as well as the issue of cocoa renewal and rehabilitation. For its part, Cerda presented a methodology to identify commitments, synergies or independence between ecosystem services provided by the cocoa plantations, and based on that, develop recommendations for a better agroforestry design-management and identify the agroforestry cocoa plantations capable of providing several ecosystem services simultaneously.  

These presentations by Somarriba and Cerda were selected to prepare scientific articles for a special issue of the journal Agroforestry Systems.  

The symposium involved around 400 researchers and actors related to the cocoa sector from more than 35 countries. If you would like more information about the event, or know the abstracts of the submitted research, you can go to



More information
Eduardo Somarriba
Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program
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Wilbert Phillips
Cocoa Genetic Improvement Program
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Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication
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