Effect of duration of fermentation and different methods of drying (solar and sun) on some quality traits of cocoa beans (theobroma cacao l.)

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Ghana earns a premium on each ton of cocoa exported to the world market based on the quality of the cocoa beans coming from the country. This is used as a benchmark in determining quality standards for cocoa coming from other parts of the world into the world market. However, the persistent improper drying resulting from farmrs spending lesser time for drying has resulted in poor quality beans. This study was, therefore, conducted to develop a solar technology for drying cocoa beans with good quality standard comparable to sun dried cocoa beans. Structured and semi structured questionnaires as well as interpersonal discussions were used to collect data. Parameters studied included cut test, pH, Total Titratable Acidity (TTA), moisture content, ash content, temperature and relative humidity.Information generated covered harvesting methods, fermentation days, drying methods and their effect on quality of cocoa beans. Heap fermentation was mostly used by farmers during this experiment and a good percentage (26%) of them fermented their cocoa beans for only five days which led to poor quality cocoa beans. The study revealedthat cocoa beans fermented for seven days with both solar and sun drying produced good quality cocoa beans. However, cocoa beansalso fermented for five, six and eight days in only the solar dryer, similarly, produced good quality traits as per the International Market Standards. Purple beans incidence was also observed to be lower in solar dried beans than sun dried beans while whilst the reverse was true for acidity levels and pH. There was not much difference in their drying rate and time as the recommended moisture level was attained after four days. Overall, cocoa beans dried in solar were of better quality than those dried in the sun as the constructed solar dryer was able to dry the cocoa beans to the recommended premium quality cocoa grade. Therefore, the solar drying technology could be adopted for use in Ghana to address farmer concerns about how to maintain quality of cocoa beans
A thesis submitted to the department of horticulture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Masters of Science, Post-Harvest Technology, 2015