Our Organic PlantationOrganic fine-flavour Criollo Cacao
Cacao trees around the world are usually planted with a high density, to create high yields on the limited plantation space. Since the mid 20th century commercial stands were established in 3 x 3 m spacing, superseeding traditional low planting densities to realize higher profits. This is especially true for huge plantations with industrial-like production, which produce large cacao quantities for the price-sensitive low-end chocolate market.
On the other hand, high densities can result in future production drops and increase the risk of typical cacao diseases, like witches’ broom incidence, caused by the fungus Crinipellis perniciosa.
At Hacienda Betulia planting takes place at 4 x 4 m for every single – consequently grafted – Criollo tree. The generous spacing combines good light penetration with vigour and resistance to diseases. Finally the more balanced cultivation, with characteristics of self-sustainability, provides better quality results over time.
Presently 11.000 trees are planted on 13 ha. Betulia B6, B8 and B9 are being arranged in alternating furrows. Every tree has its own number and a written biography with all information regarding planting and grafting.
Thanks to the regular soil analyses and a special organic fertilization, a consistent quality is ensured.