Chocolate may be one of life’s little pleasures, but for a youth farmer, it is the very means of life. Cocoa – seems to have caught the imagination of farmers in the state.
Senaishri Basumatary – a cocoa farmer says that it gives him a sizable income on the side.
“The unemployed youths of this region would do well to go for cocoa cultivation and sale for generating income instead of waiting for government jobs. Government jobs alone can not solve the problem of unemployment because recruitment to government services is need-based and limited, no government can solve the problem of unemployment by recruiting people to the government sector”: Basumatary believes.
If you’re wondering what Cocoa actually looks like on the farm, never fear – We’re about to break it down. Cocoa beans grow inside vibrant cacao pods, which grow on tree trunks.
In India, cocoa is grown mainly in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The harvesting of cocoa pods is very labour-intensive. On West African small-holdings the whole family, together with friends and neighbours help out.
Ripe pods are gathered every few weeks during the peak season. The high pods are cut with large knives attached to poles, taking care not to damage nearby flowers or buds. The pods are collected in large baskets, which workers carry on their heads, and piled up ready for splitting.
The pods are split open by hand and the seeds or beans, which are covered with a sweet white pulp or mucilage, are removed ready to undergo the two-part curing process – fermentation and drying. This prepares the beans for market and is the first stage in the development of the delicious chocolate flavour.