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Agricultural Science Paper 2, May/June 2009  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10   Main
General Comments

Question 6

Discuss the production of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) under the following headings:
(a) land preparation;                                                                                [2 marks]
(b)climatic requirements;                                                                       [3 marks]
(c)planting;                                                                                             [6 marks]
(d)one disease.                                                                                        [5 marks]


Many candidates attempted this question but their performance was woeful. 
In questions 6(a-d), majority of the candidates were unable to discuss the production of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) under the required headings

The expected answers include:

Production of cocoa (Theobroma cocao)
(a) Land Preparation

-           Select well-drained deep soil, heavy clay-loam/loam with slightly acidic or neutral pH
-           Keep the area protected from strong winds
-           Clear the area manually or mechanically
-           Avoid clean clearing/big trees may be left behind to provide shade for seedlings
-           Leave some plant refuse behind to provide mulch and reduce evaporation                                                  
Climatic requirements
-           Cocoa is a humid tropical crop
-           Grows best in areas with 1140 – 2000 mm annual rainfall
-           Needs constant supply of moisture
-           Must be protected from strong winds
-           Temperature requirement not below 17oC
-          Cocoa trees are usually raised from nurseries
-          Seeds to be planted in the nurseries  must be selected from those freshly harvested pods because seed viability reduces rapidly if kept for long time
-          Seeds are planted in small baskets filled with good loamy soil and should be well-watered but not water-logged
-           Keep the baskets with the seeds under shades protected from strong winds
-           Transplanting is ready within 5-9 months after sowing the seeds
-           Planting is done at the beginning of the rainy season
-           Spacing is usually 3m x 3m, though this varies with the cultivar
-           When transplanting, dig sufficiently deep and large holes to accommodate the whole ball of earth from basket
-           After removing the basket ; put good loamy soil around the seedlings
-           Apply mulch around the seedlings
-           Water and provide shades
-           Cocoa seeds may also be planted directly in the field, using initial spacing of 1m x 1m, later thinned down to 2m x 2m; and finally 3m x 3m.
(c)Diseases of cocoa
Swollen shoot disease
-          Caused by virus
-          Transmitted by mealybugs
-          Cause leaf distortion and vein-clearing on the young leaves
-          Cut and destroy the affected plants
-          Spray the plants with insecticides to get at the bugs
-          Plant resistant varieties

Blackpod disease
-           Caused by fungus (Phytophthora palmivora) and Phytophthora megakarya)
-          Higher incidence in wet season than dry season because the spores of the fungus are easily dispersed
-          Symptoms are brown spots which later turn black and spread over the pods rapidly 
-          They destroy the entire pod and the seeds
-          Preventive/control measures – Remove all pods with symptoms and destroy them
-          Spray whole plant with copper fungicides e.g. perenox, once in 3 – 4 weeks
-          Weeding/pruning to reduce relative humidity.    

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