Genetic improvement of cocoa by developing superior hybrids

J.S. Minimol, B. Suma, Mahiya Ummer, P.G. Chithira

Abstract


Cocoa (Theobroma cacaoL.) is the only source of chocolate. Artificial synthesis of chocolate is presently impossible due its complex chemical composition. In India commercial cultivation of cocoa started during 1970 and the country is considered as a potential source for cocoa by many chocolate companies. Cocoa exhibits heterosis in yield and yield contributing characters and development of hybrids have played a key role in uplifting cocoa cultivation in many countries. Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) had a vital role in developing cocoa cultivation in India with superior planting materials and improved agro techniques. Thousands of hybrids evolved as the part of hybridization programmes were field established and evaluated for more than twelve years for their consistent performance. The present study envisaged the evaluation of forty hybrids developed through various breeding programmes. As a result of this study five hybrids were identified as superior with high yield and other desirable pod and bean characters. They also exceeded in performance over the check variety CCRP 8, most popular hybrid among farmers which was released earlier by Cocoa Research Centre of KAU. Hence these hybrids viz. CCRP 11 (SIV 1.26), CCRP 12 (SIV 2.29), CCRP 13 (SIV 4.29), CCRP 14 (SIV 6.18) and CCRP 15 (VSD I 31.8) were released by the Government for commercial cultivation during 2015.


Keywords


Cocoa, Heterosis, Hybrids, Theobroma cacao, Vascular streak die back

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]