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As a global leader in the conservation and characterisation of cocoa germplasm, CRC collaborates with international researchers in pathology, molecular diagnostics and morphological characterisation. Other areas include, factors influencing chemical and sensory quality attributes, optimisation of micro-fermentations, development of cocoa quality standards, DNA fingerprinting and genetic diversity, cadmium mitigation, and improving the efficiency of propagation. CRC also supports business entrepreneurs through training programmes, such as the ever popular chocolate making course. Additionally, we proudly produce a 70% dark chocolate bar for sale, made exclusively from our cocoa collection of over 2000 varieties. The CRC is proud to be custodian of the largest public collection of cocoa types in the world.

Mission:

to support the sustainability of the cocoa sector through management of genetic resources, research, innovation and outreach.

  • Maintaining a diverse, representative and well-curated field collection of cocoa genetic resources
  • Creating a learning environment of global excellence with a set of core professional staff, project contract staff, adjunct staff from other institutions, adjunct staff from other departments across faculties, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
  • Supporting public policy and decision making with respect to cocoa industries in the region.
  • Developing an innovation-oriented research programme, capable of spawning competitive industries.
  • Developing a strong outreach programme by serving as a portal to all the University’s resources to support the regional, and international cocoa industries.

Vision:

to develop Cocoa Research Centre into a globally recognised centre of excellence in research and genetic resources by 2020.

Cocoa research was initiated at St. Augustine, Trinidad in 1930 at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (established in 1921) as the 'Cocoa Research Scheme', envisioned to be one of several Agricultural Research Stations formed to serve the various tropical regions by doing long range research not usually pursued by the agricultural departments of colonial governments.

Proposed in 1927 and approved in 1930, the 'Cocoa Research Scheme' was to be financed jointly by the governments of Ceylon, Gold Coast, Grenada, Nigeria and Trinidad and also by chocolate manufacturers, Cadbury Bros. Ltd., J.S. Fry and Sons Ltd., and Rowntree and Co.

During the ensuing decade, "Trinidad and Tobago was the most lavish patron of cocoa research and led the world in its scientific contribution to basic knowledge of the cocoa tree."

Though research in cocoa has been continuous since the inauguration of the 'Cocoa Research Scheme,' "changing economic and political conditions" some thirty years after its initiation caused the cocoa industry to suffer a decline in both quantitative and scientific output. This coincided with the 'Cocoa Research Scheme' coming under the aegis of The University of The West Indies and a redirection of its research programmes towards regional problems. In terms of decline however, the Cocoa Research Scheme, which became a UWI campus centre in 2012, now titled the Cocoa Research Centre (previously Cocoa Research Unit - CRU) was most affected during the period 1975-80 when dwindling financial resources seriously threatened the future outlook and restricted research activities due to the forced reduction in staff numbers.

Consequently a re-structuring of the unit was undertaken and with the re-constitution of the Cocoa Research Advisory Committee, EDF funding and the aid of consultants to formulate cost-effective research programmes to solve problems of cocoa production, CRC survived the decline to become today a vibrant institution with strong international ties and an important role in contributing to current research in cocoa as well as maintaining its mandate to conserve, characterise, evaluate, utilise and distribute material from its internationally recognised germplasm collection designated the International Cocoa Germplasm, Trinidad (ICGT).

Director

Prof. Pathmanathan Umaharan

Professor in Genetics
Genetics, Plant Breeding, Biotechnology
Pathmanathan.Umaharan@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext.82114

 

Administrative Staff

Sophia Thompson           

Secretary
sophia.thompson@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Extension 82115; 662-8788

Karen Lee Lum  

IFCIC Project Manager
662-2002 Extension 82115
kleelum@ifcic.center

Damian Wilson 

Secretary
662-2002 Extension 82268
damian.wilson@sta.uwi.edu

Lyris Hazzard-Wilson      

Messenger/Cleaner
662-2002 Extension 82115
lyris.hazzard-wilson@sta.uwi.edu

 

Research Staff

Frances Bekele

Morphological Characterisation
Team Leader
Frances.Bekele@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 83333

Darin Sukha

Food Technology
Team Leader
Darin.Sukha@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 83332       

Gerben Martijn ten Hoopen

Pathology 
CIRAD Visiting Scientist (Epidemiologist)
Gerben.TenHoopen@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 82178

Naailah Ali

Food Technology
Naailah.Ali@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 83332, 83331

Gillian Bidaisee

Genebank Characterisation
Gillian.Bidaisee@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 83330

David Gopaulchan          

Genomics
david@cocoacentre.com
662-2002 Ext. 82115

Annelle Holder-John

Agronomy
Annelle.Holder-John@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 83331

Lambert Motilal

Genomics
Lambert.Motilal@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 82178

Gideon Ramtahal            

Cadmium Mitigation
Gideon.Ramtahal@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 82115

Antoinette Sankar

Genomics, Outreach
antoinette@cocoacentre.com
662-2002 Ext. 82178

Romina Umaharan

Pathology
Team Leader
Romina.Umaharan@sta.uwi.edu
662-2002 Ext. 82178

 

Technical and Support Staff

Leon Ali

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 83331

Junior Bhola

Laboratory Assistant
junior@cocoanext.org
662-2002 Extension 83330

Clint Burnley

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Kadine David

Technical Assistant
kadine@cocoacentre.com
662-2002 Extension 82115

Valentine Degale

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Vinosh Jadoo

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

John Joseph      

Laboratory Assistant
662-2002 Extension 82115

Timal Jugmohan

Ag. Field Supervisor
662-2002 Extension 82115

Vickeisha Lall

Food Technology Team
662-2002 Extension 83331

Caleb Lewis       

Cadmium Mitigation Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Marvin Lewis

Cadmium Mitigation Team
662-2002 Extension 82268

Amrita Mahabir

Cadmium Mitigation Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Harry Mahangoo

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Frank Paul

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Carlos Perez

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Saila Ramkissoon

Food Technology Team
662-2002 Extension 83331

Alan Romero

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Keston Sinanan

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Vindra Singh

Pathology Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Ryan Small

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Paul Solozano

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Glen St. Louis

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

Wayne St. Louis

Genebank Team
662-2002 Extension 82115

"I have an idea for a student project and would like to get advice from CRC staff, how do I go about doing this?"

CRC has a long history of student assistance via consultations or supervision and our staff will be happy assist once our schedule permits. Please call 662-8788 to schedule an appointment to ensure the best and most efficient use of our time. Also walk with as much information you have gathered re your proposed project when you attend your appointment and please check the research areas of our website for relevant information and also do background research in cocoa so that you will be able to understand some of the basic terminology used like "ICS" which means Imperial College Selection.

 

Cocoa and Chocolate Questions

"Will you ship your chocolate bar to persons outside of Trinidad and Tobago?"

While shipping chocolate bars is not something we do on a regular basis, it is something that can be facilitated for persons who are out of options otherwise for getting a taste of our special premium dark chocolate. The options available for shipping will be Fedex or the EMS service offered by our local postal authority. The latter is not recommended since the shipping time can be as much as five weeks. Fedex shipments can arrive within days but will cost more than the bar itself. It is a choice we leave up to persons wishing to have the bars shipped to them. A Fedex account would be helpful for shipping via Fedex, however payment for the bars will still need to be sent to us, in the form of an International Money Order or Bank Manager's draft. Once payment is received for the cost of the bar/s and shipping, the bar/s can be shipped to you. Unfortunately at this time we are unable to accept payment via Paypal or credit cards, however this is something we are hoping to implement in the future. Thank you for your interest.

 

"Do you offer support to startups focused on cocoa value addition?"

Yes, we do offer support in whatever way we can. Please send us some details of the kind of support you require and we will do our best to accommodate you.

 

"Where can I get cocoa butter?"

Because our main focus is research, staff at the Cocoa Research Centre are not currently involved in producing cocoa butter. To purchase cocoa butter, please contact the following:

Rancho Quemado Estates Ltd (Mr. Daniel Brash) dbrashlol@yahoo.com 1-868-389-8385

Carlos Products Ltd. (Mr. Surrendra Persad) supercocoa@hotmail.com 1-868-620-1439

 

"Where can I purchase nibs, cocoa liquor, couverture?"

A limited amount of these (all local) are currently available from Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company Limited (TTFCCL) on a first come, first served basis. Please send online queries to info@ttchocolate.com or reach out to them via their Facebook page.

 

"Do you offer chocolate-making courses?"

Yes we do. Please visit our training page, then send us an email to find out more about the schedule and wait time, if there is a wait time. Local residents are welcome to request to be on standby for the next available date. The training page will have the schedule of dates for training.

 

"Where can I purchase good quality cocoa beans in Trinidad and Tobago?"

Please contact:

The Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago

or

Paul Manickchand and Associates
Phone: (868) 668 2510
Email: chris@trinidadcocoa.com

 

"Where can I purchase cocoa powder made from local beans in Trinidad and Tobago?"

Some grocery stores may have the following local brands of cocoa powders for sale

  • JB Chocolate (TBA)
  • Rancho Quemado (Hearty Foods, Arima)
  • Persad's Cocoa (TBA)

In addition, Cocobel sells cocoa powder out of their Chocolate factory on Fitt Street.

 

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