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Cocoa plantation growing in south
Date of posting: 11-01-07
      The demand for cocoa is growing due to the rising requirements from health drink and chocolate makers. Cocoa beans are the primary raw material for confectioneries, beverages, chocolates, and other food products.

      The growth of cocoa output in India was approximately 8-10% in the year 2006-07 (April-March). In 2005-06, India produced 10,175 tonne of cocoa and around 27,800 hectare was under cocoa cultivation, according to data from the Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development. "New plantations are coming up in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. The growth rate of cocoa cultivation is seen at 8% year-on-year," said Venkatesh N Hubballi, director-in-charge, Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development. Overseas cocoa prices tested a high of $1,792 a tonne in March last year and farmers want to cash on the opportunity.

      The rising demand has encouraged farmers to raise their cocoa plantings. Also, coconut farmers shifted to grow cocoa as the price volatility is smaller compared to coconut prices. "By growing cocoa along with coconut a farmer can cash in profits of around Rs 40,000-45,000 if he grows 100 coconut trees and 500 plantations of cocoa in one hectare land," Hubbali said.

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