Effect of fertilizer type and age of plant on quality of beans of two varieties of cocoa

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October, 2015
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Yield of cocoa in Ghana over the years keeps on declining despite government’s interventions and this is as a result of the inability of some farmers to apply fertilizer on cocoa in their various farms. Soil amendments through the application of granular fertilizer, have made impact in areas where farmers do timely applications at the recommended dosages. However, little information is known about the foliar fertilizers recently introduced into the cocoa industry. This study, therefore, sought to assess the effect of Lithovit, a foliar fertilizer, and two others; Elite(organic) and Asaase wura(inorganic/conventional) edaphic fertilizers, on the physical and chemical qualities of two varieties of cocoa; Amelonado (Tetteh Quarshie) and Hybrid, at two different ages (6 and 8 years). Field work was done at Adansi Brofoyedru in Adansi North District in Ashanti Region of Ghana. Application of the three different types of fertilizers were carried out according to manufacturer’s recommendations after which harvesting, fermentation and drying of the cocoa beans were done. The cocoa beans were then taken to the laboratory for physical and chemical assessment. The experimental design used was 2x2x3 factorial. From the study, the conventional fertilizer (Asaase wura) produced cocoa beans with low germinated beans (0.75%), purple beans (15.98%), mouldy beans (0.00%), weevil count (0.00%) and percentage purity (79.75%). Lithovit produced cocoa beans with good FFA content (1.68%), fat content (35.88%) and low moisture content (3.08%). Cocoa beans aged 8 years from the Amelonado (Tetteh Quarshie) variety also had cocoa beans with better quality such as low slaty count (257%: 2.57%), other defects (0.22%: 0.28%) and pH (5.26%: 5.32%) content, respectively, compared to cocoa beans 6 years of age and from the Hybrid variety. Generally, however, cocoa beans from all the treatments had good quality characteristics and were graded as GRADE 1 cocoa beans. The cocoa beans were within the recommended standard for quality beans and were suitable for export irrespective of the fertilizer type, age of plant or variety of cocoa used.
A thesis submitted to The School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of Master of Philosophy (MPhil. Postharvest Technology) Degree