October 2012

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After fifty years of existence, the Cocoa Research Unit has had its university status changed and is now a campus centre, henceforth to be known as the Cocoa Research Centre (CRC).

The Unit goes back a long way, if you consider its birth in 1930 as the Cocoa Research Scheme under the Imperial College of Agriculture. In this sense, the Cocoa Research Unit has supported the global cocoa industry for 82 years.

Much of the world’s pioneering work on cocoa propagation, shade and nutrition, fermentation, genetics, self-incompatibility system in cocoa, cacao pathology was done at this institution.

The CRC is custodian of the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad (ICG,T) regarded as the largest and most diverse collection of cocoa varieties, globally. The collection consists of over 2,400 varieties of cocoa planted in plots of 16 trees in 35 hectares of land.

We have supported research work in plant breeding, pathology, genetics and value addition. We work closely with several chocolate companies such as Cadbury’s, Mars, Hershey’s, Lindt and Sprungli, Valrhona and Guittard to address contemporary problems.

Current projects include one which deals with cadmium bioaccumulation of cacao, a problem beginning to affect the export of cocoa into Europe, improving resistance to black pod and witches’ broom diseases, and improving quality, branding and value addition.

We provide training internationally on a ‘needs’ basis. During the last few years we have trained researchers and technicians from Honduras, Uganda, Ghana and Panama as well as from Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent.

We are implementing a farmer field school programme (four years) with support from the Centre for Development of Enterprise (ACP/EU) in six countries in the region.

We are also implementing a partnership in conservation programme involving 50 farmers across Trinidad and Tobago, where we are duplicating small subsets of the genebank.

Current research focuses on genome-wide association studies, functional genomics and genomic selection. With renewed regional interest in cocoa, the CCR has revamped its support system to support local and regional research institutions and farmer organisations.

The CRC’s work involves continuously seeking new avenues for funding, and disseminating its research findings in various local and international conference proceedings, newsletters and peer-reviewed journals.

For more information, please visit our website sta.uwi.edu/cru and do visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/cocoacentre

The CRC celebrates its 50th Anniversary and World Cocoa and Chocolate Day 2012 with ‘Spirit of Chocolate – Féte de la cocoa’, on November 2-3, at the JFK Auditorium. This celebration will highlight the long history of cocoa in Trinidad and Tobago and its contribution to the world, the unique place that local cocoa occupies in the world and cocoa’s role in the economic diversification efforts of this country. It also aims to garner support for the creation of a new cocoa industry based on the pillars of sustainability and value creation.

Friday 2nd November

  • Opening Ceremony
    • Launch of Cocoa Research Centre
    • Launch of signature premium dark chocolate ICG,T bar
    • Video presentation
    • Opening of Exhibition: Cacao Dreams: Chocolate Haven


  • Innovations in Chocolate Cuisine Competition – A Food and Beverage Challenge
  • Exhibition, games, activities
  • Food fest
  • Genebank tour

Saturday 3rd November

  • Launch of logo design competition
  • Cacao Dreams: Chocolate Haven Exhibition
  • Games, activities
  • Launch of chocolate-making course
  • Genebank tour

To find out more, please contact the CRC at 662-2002 ext. 82115.