Yaounde, Cameroon, Africa. (Cameroon News) – The 17th International Conference on Cocoa Research has continued today in Yaoundé, with scientists presenting their finding on how to increase production by reducing pest, disease and post harvest deficit. Yesterday the researchers had a field trip to cocoa experimentation farms at Mengang in the Center Region.
The production and experimentation center of SODECAO located at about 85 kilometers from Yaoundé on the Yaoundé- Akonolinga road was established in 1979 on the forest of about 1,500 hectares of land. It is a center specialized in the production of selected cocoa seeds destined to cocoa farmers for the creation of their own cocoa plantations.
With the technical collaboration of the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), SODECAO introduced several plots of seedlings and experimental plantations like seed gardens some are already over 30 years of age. Experimental plots, wood gardens, cocoa wood gardens and cocoa experimentation and demonstration plantations on 100 hectares and orchard plantation and a farm plantation.
The Mengang Center employs 62 people in five sections. There is a section in-charge of the creation and expansion of the seed fields, the section in-charge of the rehabilitation and maintenance of seed fields, the section which is in-charge of nurseries and two other sections in-charge of creation and expansion of wood gardens and experimental and demonstration plantations.
At the end of their visit yesterday we asked Prof. Paul Hartley a lead researcher from the University of Reading in North America who expresses his point of view about the experimentation farms used by Cameroonian researchers:
Very impressive. It showed how research services in Cameroon are working to help the cocoa farmer by producing appropriate seeds of good varieties. Giving the farmers the sort of seeds that they want is one of the most important things and there was clear evidence there of the efforts that they are making to produce seed gardens to produce the right seed for farmers in Cameroon. So that was very good.