News Releases

Trinidad taps into US $70 million Cocoa Industry

For Release Upon Receipt - March 24, 2009

St. Augustine


The University Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) is making moves to break into a US $70 million industry. The CRU will ceremonially commission a new irrigation system at the International Cocoa Genebank on Friday 27th March, 2009. The brief commissioning ceremony will take place at The University Cocoa Research Station, La Chaguaramas Estate, Centeno, at 11:00 a.m. This new irrigation system is expected to greatly improve the efficiency and output of the cocoa genebank. 

The international cocoa industry amasses US$ 70 billion and is expected to increase at an estimated average growth of 2.8 percent in 2008 to 2009. Trinidad and Tobago produces a superior quality of cocoa made from Trinitario beans, which fetches a premium price on the world market. The new irrigation system is meant as a catalyst to drive the cocoa industry’s economic contribution to the local economy.

The irrigation system’s commissioning comes four years after the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality funded the project “Safeguarding the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad: a global resource for the cocoa industry”. This project aimed to upgrade the irrigation facilities in the University Cocoa Research Station (UCRS), improve security of the site and re-propagate genetic material at risk of genetic erosion.   

The ceremony will follow the release of an informative documentary entitled “Journey of the Golden Bean in Trinidad and Tobago”. This video will be presented during the first session of the upcoming Second Roundtable for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy Conference, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th March, 2009. This event is expected to attract over 200 representatives from over 30 cocoa producing countries in a bid to

integrate all levels of the cocoa production from farming to policy making.   For further information, please call (868) 662-8788 Ext. 8788 or email



About the cocoa research unit (CRU) 

The Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) plays a pivotal role within the global cocoa community as a regional research centre which assists in meeting the demands associated with sustainable cocoa production. At present, the CRU manages and conserves valuable and diverse germplasm resources in the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad located in Centeno, Trinidad. This site is one of the two designated  universal germplasm collections of cacao (by order of Bioversity International). The International Cocoa Genebank contains primary germplasm from nine collection expeditions that aimed to obtain wild material from six countries including Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. With the establishment of the International Cocoa Genebank, research activities in CRU have been centered on the conservation, characterisation (both morphological and molecular), evaluation and enhancement of the collection. CRU’s research activities are funded by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and international partners such as the Cocoa Research Association of the United Kingdom.