Technological Innovation in Andean Cocoa
The objective of this project is to establish technological innovations for cacao producers in Andean areas. Focus was put on improving the quality of cacao beans during production and processing or with added value achieving differentiation and access to a new market.
The specific objectives are the following:
- Zoning by quality: differentiated quality material characterization and identification of agroecological zones with higher organoleptic and functional characteristics allows for planting area expansion.
- Agronomic management: defined by strategies which reduce the assimilation of cadmium in the seed.
- Efficient fermentation system: use of starter cultures which reduce fermentation time and improves organoleptic quality and guarantees compliance with market requirements.
- Development of an encapsulated prototype of the flavonoids present in cacao.
The implementation of this project will improve the competitiveness of the Colombian and Peruvian cacao sector. It will facilitate the entry of cocoa to different markets through the development of technological, organizational and institutional innovations that also benefit farmers.
Finally, by promoting technological, organizational and/or institutional innovations to improve the performance of family farming through productive chains facilitating market access, accomplishes the first objective of the FONTAGRO Medium-Term Plan (PMP) 2015-2020.
The technological solution
This project will develop proposals for technological innovations that reduce the presence of cadmium in cacao fruits, where the relationship will be based on the dependence between cadmium contents and edaphic variables. This monitoring will be carried out in nursery stage trials. It seeks to benefit all producers with high levels of cadmium, thereby breaking the export market barriers, especially to European countries. Another technological solution focuses on the transformation stage in order to generate more efficient fermentation, process times and quality improvement. This is based on the identification of microorganisms as possible starter cultures in the fermentation process. The solution will be reinforced by a prototype for fermentation that will maintain the quality of the grain during processing and create optimal conditions. Lastly, through creating added value by making a flavonoid encapsulation prototype from the seed for nutritional supplement markets.
The project will be carried out in two areas of Colombia and Peru. Each area has a tradition and subsides from cacao and supports more than 2000 families using models of peasant economy production.
The results are focused from cultivation to transformation, in order to strengthen several aspects such as:
- Forming relationships with research institutions working with cacao and associations of small producers who will be direct beneficiaries.
- Identification of fine quality cacao material for future planting processes, directly benefiting the producers.
- A geographic information system of producing areas for each country with emphasis on edafoclimatic variables that influence cocoa quality.
- Packages evaluated at nursery level to reduce the presence of cadmium in cacao beans.
- Organic fermenter prototypes with cultures of microorganisms that initiate fermentation processes that improve yield and organoleptic quality.
- Development of a prototype encapsulation rich in flavonoids present in cacao. By accessing new markets and generating greater economic income through market recognition of differentiated and quality product, the producer´s quality of life will be improved.
2700 beneficiaries which are distributed in 1.400 from Colombia and 1.300 from Peru.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Universidad de Tolima (UT) - Colombia
- Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM) - Perú
- Universidad de Ibagué (Unibagué) - Colombia
- Universidad de Chile (UCHILE) - Chile