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PHILIPPINE BUEEAU OF AGEICULTUEE.
FABMERS' BULLETIN^ :So, 2|; CALIFOP
WILL/IAM S. LYOK,
IN CHARGE OF SEED AND PLANT INTRODUCTION.
PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OE THE GHIEE OE THE BUREAU.
BUREAU OF PUBLIC PRINTING
Letter of transmittal 4
The plantation site 7
The soil 7
Preparation of the soil 8
Forming the plantation 9
Selection of varieties 10
Pruning .^ 13
Enemies and diseases 18
Supplemental notes , 21
New varieties - 21
Residence ^ 21
Cost of a cacao plantation 22
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
Sir: I submit herewith an essay on the cultivation of cacao, for the u^e
of planters in the Philippines. This essay is prompted first, because much
of the cacao grown here is of such excellent quality as to induce keen
rivalry among buyers to procure it at an advance of quite 50 per cent over
the common export grades of the Java bean, notwithstanding the failure
on the part of the local grower to "process" or cure the product in any
way; second, because in parts of Mindanao and Negros, despite ill treat-
ment or no treatment, the plant exhibits a luxuriance of growth and
wealth of productiveness that demonstrates its entire fitness for those
regions and leads us to believe in the successful extension of its propaga-
tion throughout these Islands; and lastly because of the repeated calls
upon the Chief of the Agricultural Bureau for literature or information
bearing upon this important horticultural industry.
The importance of cacao-growing in the Philippines can hardly be over-
estimated. Eecent statistics place the world^s demand for cacao (exclu-
sive of local consumption) at 200,000,000 pounds, valued at more than
There is little danger of overproduction and consequent low prices for
very many years to come. So far as known, the areas where cacao pros-
pers in the great equatorial zone are small, and the opening and develop-
ment of suitable regions has altogether failed to keep pace with the
The bibliography of cacao is rather limited, and some of the best publi-
cations,^ being in French, are unavailable to many. The leading English
treatise, by Professor Hart,^ admirable in many respects, deals mainly
with conditions in Trinidad, West Indies, and is fatally defective, if not
misleading, on the all-important question of pruning.
The life history of the cacao, its botany, chemistry, and statistics are re-
plete with interest, and will, perhaps, be treated in a future paper.
Wm. S. Lyon,
In Charge of Seed and Plant Introduction.
Hon. F. Lamson-Scribner,
Chief of the Insular Bureau of Agriculture.
^ Le Cacaoyer, par Henri Jumelle. Culture de Cacaoyer dans Guadaloupe par
Dr Paul Guerin.
2 Cacao, by J. H. Hart, F. L. S. Trinidad.
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
Cacao in cultivation exists nearly everywhere in the Archipelago. I
have observed it in several provinces of Luzon, in Mindanao, Jolo, Basi-
lan, Panay, and Negros, and have well-verified assurances of its presence
in Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate, and it is altogether reasonable to predicate
its existence upon all the larger islands anywhere under an elevation of
1,000 or possibly 1,200 meters. Nevertheless, in many localities the condi-
tion of the plants is such as not to justify the general extension of cacao
cultivation into all regions. The presence of cacao in a given locality is
an interesting fact, furnishing a useful guide for investigation and agri-
cultural experimentation, but, as the purpose of this paper is to deal with
cacao growing from a commercial standpoint, it is well to state that
wherever reference is made t6 the growth, requirements, habits, or cul-
tural treatment of the plant the commercial aspect is alone considered.
As an illustration, attention is called to the statement made elsewhere,
that "cacao exacts a minimum temperature of 18°"; although, as is per-
fectly well known to the writer, its fruit has sometimes matured where
the recorded temperatures have fallen as low as 10°. There is much to be
learned here by experimentation, for as yet the cultivation is primitive in
the extreme, pruning of any kind rudimentary or negative, and "treat-
ment" of the nut altogether unknown.
Elsewhere in cacao-producing countries its cultivation has long passed
the experimental stage, and the practices that govern the management of
a well-ordered cacao plantation are as clearly defined as those of an orange
grove in Florida or a vineyard in California.
In widely scattered localities the close observer will find many young
trees that in vigor, color, and general health leave nothing to be desired,
but before making final selection for a plantation he should inspect trees
of larger growth for evidences of "die back" of the branches. If "die
back" is present, superficial examinatio]i will generally determine if it is
caused by neglect or by the attacks of insects. If not caused by neglect or
insect attacks, he may assume that some primary essential to the con-
tinued and successful cultivation of the tree is wanting and that the loca-
tion is unsuited to profitable plantations.
With due regard to these preliminary precautions and a close oversight
of every subsequent operation, there is no reason why the growing of
cacao may not ultimately become one of the most profitable horticultural
enterprises that can engage the attention of planters in this Archipelago.
It is customary, when writing of any crop culture, to give precedence
to site and soil, but in the case of cacao these considerations are of second-
ary importance, and while none of the minor operations of planting, prun-
ing, cultivation, and fertilizing may be overlooked, they are all outweighed
by the single essential — climate.
In general, a state of atmospheric saturation keeps pace with heavy
rainfall, and for that reason we may successfully look for the highest rela-
tive humidity upon the eastern shores of the Archipelago, where the rain-
fall is more uniformly distributed over the whole year, than upon the
There are places where the conditions are so peculiar as to challenge
especial inquiry. We find on the peninsula of Zamboanga a recorded an-
nual mean rainfall of only 888 mm., and yet cacao (unirrigated) exhibits
exceptional thrift and vigor. It is true that this rain is so evenly distrib-
uted throughout the year th? t every drop becomes available, yet the total
rainfall is insufficient to account for the very evident and abundant atmo^^ -
pheric humidity indicated by the prosperous conditions of the cacao plan-
tations. The explanation of thi^ phenomenon, as made to me by the Ee^^
Father Algue, of the Observatory of Manila, is to the effect that strong
equatorial ocean currents constantly prevail against southern Mindanao,
and that their influence extend north nearly to the tenth degree of lati-
tude. These currents, carrying their n.cisture-laden atmosphere, would
naturally affect the whole of this narrow neck of land and influence as
well some of the western coast of Mindanao, and probably place it upon
the same favored hygrometric plane as the eastern coast, where the rain-
fall in some localities amounts to 4 meters a year.
While 2,000 mm. of mean annual rainfall equably distributed is ample
to achieve complete success, it seems almost impossible to injure cacao by
excessive piecipitation. It has been known to successfully tide over inun-
dation of the whole stem up to the first branches for a period covering
nearly a month.
Irrigation must be resorted to in cases of deficient or unevenly distrib-
uted rainfall, and irrigation is always advantageous whenever there is
suspension of rain for a period of more than fifteen days.
Concerning temperatures the best is that with an annual mean of 26°
to 28°, with 20° as the mean minimum where any measure of success may
be expected. A mean temperature of over 30° is prejudicial to cacao
The last but not least important of the atmospheric phenomena for our
consideration are the winds. Cacao loves to "steam and swelter in its own
atmosphere" and high winds are inimical, and even refreshing breezes are
incompatible, with the greatest success. As there are but few large areas \
in these Islands that are exempt from one or other of our prevailing "
winds, the remedies that suggest themselves are : The selection of small
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 7
sheltered valleys where the prevailing winds are directly cut off by inter-
vening hills or mountains; the plantation of only small groves in the
open, and their frequent intersection by the plantation of rapid growing
trees; and, best of all, plantings made in forest clearings, where the re-
maining forested lands will furnish the needed protection.
It is always desirable to select a site that is approximately level or with
only enough fall to assure easy drainage. Such sites may be planted sym-
metrically and are susceptible to the easiest and most economical applica-
tion of the many operations connected vvith a plantation.
Provided the region is well forested and therefore protected from sea
breezes, the plantation may be carried very near to the coast, provided the
elevation is sufficient- to assure the grove immunity from incursions of
tide water, which, however much diluted, will speedily cause the death of
Excavations should be made during the dry season to determine that
water does not stand within IJ meters of the surface, a more essential
condition, however, when planting is made "at stake^' than when nursery
reared trees are planted.
Hillsides, when "not too precipitous, frequently offer admirable shelter
and desirable soils, but their use entails n rather more complicated system
of drainage, to carry away storm water without land washing, and for the
ready conversion of the same into irrigating ditches during the dry season.
Further, every operation involved must be performed by hand labor, and
in the selection of such a site the planter must be largely influenced by the
quantity and cost of available labor.
The unexceptionable shelter, the humidity that prevails, and the inex-
haustible supply of humus that is generally found in deep forest ravines
frequently lead to their planting to cacao where the slope is even as great
as 45°. Such plantations, if done upoji a considerable commercial scale,
involve engineering problems and the careful terracing of each tree, and,
except for a dearth of more suitable locations, is a practice that has little
to commend it to the practical grower.
Other things being equal, preference should be given to a not too tena-
cious, clayey loam. Selection, in fact, may be quite successfully made
through the process of exclusion, and by eliminating all soils of a very
light and sandy nature, or clays so tenacious that the surface bakes and
cracks while still too wet within 3 or 4 inches of the surface to operate
with farm tools. These excluded, still leave a very wide range of silt,
clay, and loam soils, most of which are suitable to cacao culture.
Where properly protected from the wind a rocky soil, otherwise good,
is not objectionable; in fact, such lands have the advantage of promoting
PREPARATION OP THE SOIL.
When the plantation is made upon forest lands, it is necessary to cut
and burn all underbrush, together with all timber trees other than those
designed for shade. If such shade trees are left (and the advisability of
leaving them will be discussed in the proper place), only those of the
pulse or bean family are to be recommended. It should also be remem-
bered that, owing in part to the close planting of cacao and in part to
the fragility of its wood and its great susceptibility to damage resulting
from wounds, subsequent removal of large shade trees from the planta-
tion is attended with difficulty and expense, and the planter should leave
few shade trees to the hectare. Clearing the land should be done during
the dry season, and refuse burned in situ, thereby conserving to the soil
the potash salts so essential to the continued well-being of cacao.
The land should be deeply plowed, and, if possible, subsoiled as well,
and then, pending the time of planting the orchard, it may be laid down
to corn, cotton, beans, or some forage plant. Preference should be given
to ^Tioed crops," as it is essential to keep the surface in open tilth, as well
as to destroy all weeds.
The common practice in most cacao-growing countries is to simply dig
deep holes where the trees are to stand, and to give a light working to the
rest of the surface just sufficient to produce the intermediate crops. This
custom is permissible only on slopes too steep for the successful opera-
tion of a side hill plow, or where from lack of draft animals all cultiva-
tion has to be done by hand.
Cacao roots deeply, and with relatively few superficial feeders, and the
deeper the soil is worked the better.
The number and size of the drains will depend upon the amount of
rainfall, the contour of the land, and the natural absorbent character of
the soil. In no case should the ditches be less than 1 meter wide and 60
cm. deep, and if loose stones are at hand the sloping sides may be laid
with them, which will materially protect them from washing by torrential
These main drains should all be completed prior to planting. Connect-
ing laterals may be opened subsequently, as the necessities of further
drainage or future irrigation may demand ; shallow furrows will generally
answer for these laterals, and as their obliteration will practically follow
every time cultivation is given, their construction may be of the cheapest
and most temporary nature. Owing to the necessity of main drainage
canals and the needful interplanting of shade plants between the rows of
cacao, nothing is gained by laying oif the land for planting in what is
called "two ways," and all subsequent working of the orchard will conse-
quently be in one direction.
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 9
Cacao, relatively to the size of the tree, may be planted very closely.
We have stated that it rejoices in a close, moistnre-laden atmosphere, and
this permits of a closer planting than -would be admissible with any other
In very rich soil the strong-growing Forastero variety may be planted
3.7 meters apart each way, or 745 trees to the hectare, and on lighter
lands this, or the more dwarf -growing forms of Criollo, may be set as
close as 3 meters or rather more than 1,000 trees to the hectare.
The rows should be very carefully lined out in one direction and staked
where the young plants are to be set, and then (a year before the final
planting) between each row of cacao a line of temporary shelter plants
are to be planted. These should be planted in quincunx order, i. e., at the
intersecting point of two lines drawn between the diagonal corners of the
square made by four cacaos set equidistant each way. This temporary
shelter is indispensable for the protection of the young plantation from
wind and sun.
The almost universal custom is to plant, for temporary shelter, suckers
of fruiting bananas, but throughout the Visayas and in Southern Luzon
I think abaca could be advantageously substituted. It is true that, as
commonly grown, abaca does not make so rank a growth as some of the
plantains, but if given the perfect tillage which the cacao plantation
should receive, and moderately rich soils, abaca ought to furnish all nec-
essary shade. This temporary shade may be maintained till the fourth or
fifth year, when it is to be grubbed out and the stalks and stumps, which
are rich in nitrogen, may be left to decay upon the ground. At present
prices, the four or five crops which mjy be secured from the temporary
shelter plants ought to meet the expenses of the entire plantation until it
comes into bearing.
In the next step, every fourth tree in the fourth or fifth row of cacao
may be omitted and its place filled by a permanent shade tree. The plant-
ing of shade trees or "madre de cacao" among the cacao has been observed
from time immemorial in all countries where the crop is grown, and the
primary purpose of the planting has been for shade alone. Observing that
these trees were almost invariably of the pulse or legume family, the
writer, in the year 1892, raised the question, in the Proceedings of the
Southern California Horticultural Society, that the probable benefits de-
rived were directly attributable to the abundant fertilizing microorgan-
isms developed in the soil by these leguminous plants, rather than the
mechancial protection they afforded fron^ the sun's rays.
To Mr. 0. F. Cook, of the United States Department of Agriculture,
however, belongs the credit of publishing, in 1901,' a resume of his in-
quiries into the subject of the shades used for both the coffee and the
1 ''Shade in Coffee Culture." U. S. Dept. Ag., Washington, 1901.
10 farmers' bulletin.
cacao, and which fully confirmed the previous opinions that the main
benefit derived from these trees was their influence in maintaining a con-
stant supply of available nitrogen in the soil.
That cacao and its wild congenors naturally seek the shelter of well-
shaded forests is well established; but having seen trees in these Islands^
that were fully exposed at all times showing no evidences of either scali,
burn, or sun spot, and in every respect the embodiment of vigor and
health, we are fully justified in assuming that here the climatic condi-
tions are such as will permit of taking some reasonable liberties with this
time-honored practice and supply needed nitrogen to the soil by the use of
cheap and effective "catch crops,^^ such tis cowpeas or soy beans.
Here, as elsewhere, an Erythrina, known as "dap-dap," is a favorite
shade tree among native planters; the rain tree (Pithecolohium saman)
is also occasionally used, and in one instance only have I seen a departure
from the use of the Leguminosse, and that in western Mindanao, there is
a shade plantation composed exclusively of Cananga odorata, locally
known as ilang-ilang.
While not yet prepared to advocate the total exclusion of all shade
trees, I am prepared to recomm*»Tiii a shade tree, if shade trees there must
be, whose utility and unquestioned value has singularly escaped notice.
The tree in question, the Royal Ponciana (Poinciana regia), embodies
all of the virtues that are ascribed to the best of the pulse family, is easily
procured, grows freely and rapidly from seed or cutting, furnishes a mini-
mum of shade at all times, and, in these Islands, becomes almost leafless
at the season of maturity of the largest cacao crop when the greatest sun
exposure is desired.
The remaining preparatory work consists in the planting of intersect-
ing wind breaks at intervals throughout the grove, and upon sides ex-
posed to winds, or where a natural forest growth does not furnish such a
shelter belt. Unless the plantation lies in a particularly protected valley,
no plantation, however large in the aggregate, should cover more than 4
or 5 hectares unbroken by at least one rc>w of wind-break trees. Nothing
that I know of can approach the mango for this purpose. It will hold in
check the fiercest gale and give assurance to the grower that after any
storm his cacao crop is still on the trees and not on the ground, a prey to
ants, mice, and other vermin.
SELECTION OP VARIETIES.
All the varieties of cacao in general cultivation may be referred to three
general types, the Criollo, Forastero, and Calabacillo ; and of these, those
that I have met in cultivation in the Archipelago are the first and second
only. The Criollo is incomparably the finest variety in general use, and
may perhaps be most readily distinguished by the inexperienced through
the ripe but unfermented seed or almond, as it is often called. This, onV
breaking, is found to be whitish or yellowish-white, while the seeds of '
CACAO CULTUEE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 11
those in which the Forastero or Calabacillo blood predominates are red-
dish, or, in the ease of Forastero, almost violet in color. For flavor, free-
dom from bitterness, facility in curing, and high commercial value, the
Criollo is everywhere conceded to be facile princeps.
On the other hand, in point of yield, vigor, freedom from disease, and
compatibility to environment it is not to be compared with the others.
Nevertheless, where such perfect conditions exist as are found in parts of
Mindanao, I do not hesitate to urge the planting of Criollo. Elsewhere,
or wherever the plantation is tentative or the conditions not very well
known to the planter, the Forastero is to be recommended. The former
is commercially known as '^Caracas'' and ''old red Ceylon,'^ and may be
obtained from Ceylon dealers ; and the latter, the Forastero, or forms of
it which have originated in the island, can be procured from Java.
It seems not unlikely that the true Forastero may have been brought to
these Islands from Acapulco, Mexico, two hundred and thirty-two years
ago,^ as it was at that time the dominant kind grown in southeastern
Mexico, and, if so, the place where the pure type would most likely be
found in these Islands would be in the Camarinep, Southern Luzon.
Aside from the seed characters already given, Forastero is recognized by
its larger, thicker, more abundant, and rather more abruptly pointed
fruit than Criollo, and its coarse leaves which are from 22 to 50 cm. long
by 7 to 13 cm. wide, dimensions nearly double those reached by the Criollo
or Calabacillo varieties.
Planting may be done "at stake" or from the nursery. For the un-
skilled or inexperienced planter, who has means at hand to defray the
greater cost, planting "at stake" is perhaps to be recommended. This is
no more than the dropping and lightly covering, during the rainy season,
of three or four seeds at the stake where the plant is to stand, protecting
the spot with a bit of banana leaf, left till the seeds have sprouted, and
subsequently pulling out all but the one strongest and thriftiest plant.
The contingencies to be met by this system are many. The enemies of
the cacao seed are legion. Drought, birds, worms, ants, beetles, mice, and
rats will all contribute their quota to prevent a good "stand" and entail
the necessitly of repeated plantings. Success by planting "at stake" is so
doubtful that it is rarely followed by experienced planters.
The consequent alternative lies in rearing seedlings in seed beds that
are under immediate control, and, wIkhi the plants are of sufficient size,
in transplanting them to their proper siles in the orchard. In view of the
* According to ''Historiade Fllipinas," by P. Fr. Gaspar de S. Augustin, cacao
plants were first brought here in the year 1670 by a pilot named Pedro Brabo, of
Laguna Province, who gave them to a priest of the Camarines named Bartoleme
12 farmers' bulletin.
remarkable short-lived vitality of the cacao seed, it is in every way advis-
able that the untrained grower procure his plants from professional nurs-
erymen, or, if this resource is lacking, that he import the young plants
in Wardian cases from some of the many firms abroad who make a spe-
cialty of preparing them for foreign markets.
Both of these expedients failing, then it is advised that the seeds be
sown one by one in small pots, or, if these are not procurable, in small
bamboo tubes, and, for the sake of uniform moisture, plunge them to
their rims in any free, light soil in a well-shaded easily protected spot
where they may be carefully watered. In three to six months (according
to growth) the tube with its included plant may be planted in the open
field, when the former will speedily decompose and the growth of the
cacao proceed without check or injury.
At best, all of the above suggested methods are but crude expedients to
replace the more workmanlike, expeditious, and satisfactory process of
planting the conventional nursery grown stock. There is nothing more
difiicult in the rearing of cacao seedlings than in growing any other ever-
green fruit tree. Briefly stated, it is only the finding of a well-prepared,
well-shaded seed bed and sowiiijcr tJie seeds in rows or drills, and, when the
seedlings are of proper size, in lifting and transferring them to the plan-
tation. But in actual practice there are many details calling for the exer-
cise of trained judgment from the preparation of the seed bed down to the
final process of 'hardening off," concerning which the reader is referred
to the many available text-books on general nursery management.
It may be said for the benefit of those unable to adopt more scientific
methods : Let the seed bed be selected in a well-shaded spot, and, if possi-
ble, upon a rather stiff, plastic, but well-drained soil. After this is well
broken up and made smooth, broadcast over all 3 or 4 inches of well-
decomposed leaf mold mixed with sand, and in this sow the seed in fur-
rows about 1 inch deep. This sowing should be made during the dry
season, not only to avoid the beating and washing of violent storms but to
have the nursery plants of proper size for planting at the opening of the
rainy season. The seed bed should be accessible to water, in order that it
may be conveniently watered by frequent sprinklings throughout the dry
The rich top dressing will stimulate the early growth of the seedling,
and when its roots enter the heavier soil below it will encourage a stocky
growth. Four or five months later the roots will be so well established
in the stiffer soil that if lifted carefully each plant may be secured with a
ball of earth about its roots, placed in a tray or basket, and in this way
carried intact to the field. Plants thus reared give to the inexperienced
an assurance of success not always obtained by the trained or veteran
planter of bare rooted subjects. \
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 13
Planters are united in the opinion that pruning, cutting, or in any way
lacerating the roots is injurious to the cacao, and in deference to this
opinion all cultivation close to the tree should be done with a harrow-
tooth cultivator, or shallow scarifier. All intermediate cultivation should
be deep and thorough, whenever the mechanical condition of the soil will
permit it. A plant stunted in youth will never make a prolific tree; early
and continuous grawth can only be secured by deep and thorough cultiva-
Of even more consideration than an occasional root cutting is any in-
jury, however small, to the tree stem, and on this account every precau-
tion should be taken to protect the trees from accidental injury when
plowing or cultivating. The whiffletree of the plow or cultivator used
should be carefully fendered with rubber or a soft woolen packing that
will effectually guard against the carelessness of workmen. Wounds in
the bark or stem offer an inviting field for the entry of insects or the
spores of fungi, and are, furthermore, apt to be overlooked until the in-
jury becomes deep seated and sometimes beyond repair.
With the gradual extension of root development, cultivation will be re-
duced to a narrow strip between the rows once occupied by the plantain
or the abaca, but, to the very last, the maintenance of the proper soil con-
ditions should be observed by at least one good annual plowing and by as
many superficial cultivations as the growth of the trees and the mechan-
ical state of the land will admit.
When left to its own resources the cacao will fruit for an almost inde-
finite time. When well and strenuously grown it will bear much more
abundant fruit from its fifth to its twenty-fifth year, and by a simple
process of renewal can be made productive for a much longer time.
A necessary factor to this result is an annual pruning upon strictly
scientific lines. The underlying principle involved is, primarily, the fact
that the cacao bears its crop directly upon the main branches and trunk,
and not upon spurs or twigs; secondly, that wood under three years is
rarely fruitful, and that only upon stems or branches of five years or up-
ward does the maximum f ruitf ulness occur ; that the seat of inflorescence
is directly over the axil of a fallen leaf, from whence the flowers are born
at irregular times throughout the year.
With this necessary, fundamental information as a basis of operations,
the rational system of pruning that suggests itself is the maintenance of
as large an extension at all times of straight, well-grown mature wood and
the perfecting of that by the early and frequent removal of all limbs or
branches that the form of the tree does not admit of carrying without
14 farmers' bulletin.
It is desirable that this extension of the branch system should be lateral
rather than vertical, for the greater facility with which fruit may be
plucked and possible insect enemies fought: and on this account the
leading growths should be stopped when a convenient height has been
A\nien well grown and without accident to its leader, the cacao will
naturally branch at from 1 to 1.4 meters from the ground. These pri-
mary branches are mostly three to five in number, and all in excess of
three should be removed as soon as selection can be made of three strong-
est that are as nearly equidistant from each other as may be. When these
branches are from 80 cm. to 1 meter long, and preferably the shorter dis-
tance, they are to be stopped by pinching the extremities. This will cause
them and the main stem as well to ^^Dreak,'' i. e., to branch in many places.
At this point the vigilance and judgment of the planter are called into
greater play. These secondary branches are, in turn, all to be reduced as
were the primary ones, and their selection can not be made in a symmetri-
cal whorl, for the habit of the tree does not admit of it, and selection of
the three should be made with reference to their future extension, that the
interior of the tree should Tiot be overcrowded and that such outer
branches be retained as shall fairly maintain the equilibrium of the crown.
This will complete the third year and the formative stage of the plant.
Subsequent prunings will be conducted on the same liQes, with the modi-
fication that when the secondary branches are again cut back, the room
in the head of the tree will rarely admit of more than one, at most two,
tertiary branches being allowed to remain. When these are grown to an
extent that brings the total height of the tree to 3 or 4 meters, they should
be cut back annually, at the close of the dry season. Such minor opera-
tions as the removal of thin, wiry, or hide-bound growths and all suckers
suggest themselves to ever}^ horticulturist, whether he be experienced in
cacao growing or not. When a tree is exhausted by overbearing, or has
originally been so ill formed that it is not productive, a strong sucker or
"gourmand'^ springing from near the ground may be encouraged to grow.
By distributing the pruning over two or three periods, in one year the old
tree can be entirely removed and its place substituted by the "gourmand.''
During the third year flowers will be abundant and some fruit will set,
but it is advisable to remove it while small and permit all of the energy
of the plant to be expended in wood making.
From what we know of its flowering habit, it is obvious that every oper-
ation connected with the handling or pruning of a cacao, should be con-
ducted with extreme care ; to see that the bark is never injured about the
old leaf scars, for to just the extent it is so injured is the fruit-bearing
area curtailed. Further, no pruning cut should ever be inflicted, except
with the sharpest of knives and saws, and the use of shears, that alway^|
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 15
bruise to some extent, is to be avoided. All the rules that are laid down
for the guidance of the pruning of most orchard trees in regard to clean
<3uts, sloping cuts, and the covering of large wounds with tar or resin
Plate 1.— Shows the interesting, fruit bearing habit of the Cacao.
apply with fourfold force to the cacao. Its wood is remarkably spongy
and an easy prey to the enemies ever lying in wait to attack it, and the
surest remedies for disease are preventive ones, and by the maintenance
16 farmers' bulletin.
of the bark of the tree at all times in the sound condition, we are assured
that it is best qualified to resist invasion. Of the great number of worm-
riddled trees to be seen in the Archipelago, it is easy in every case to trace
the cause to the neglect and brutal treatment which left them in a condi-
tion to invite the attacks of disease of every kind.
The ripening period of cacao generally occurs at two seasons of the
year, but in these islands the most abundant crop is obtained at about the
commencement of the dry season, and the fruits continue to ripen for
two months or longer. The time of its approaching maturity is easily
recognized by the tyro by the unmistakable aroma of chocolate that per-
vades the orchard at that period, and by some of the pods turning reddish
or yellow according to the variety.
The pods are attached by a very short stalk to the trunk of the tree, and
those within reach of the hand are carefully cut with shears. Those
higher up are most safely removed with an extension American tree
pruner. A West Indian hook knife with a cutting edge above and below
and mounted on a bamboo pole. If kept with the edges very sharp, does
excellently well, but should only be intrusted to the most careful workmen.
There is hardly a conceivable contingency to warrant the climbing of a
cacao tree. If it should occur, the person climbing should go barefooted.
As soon as the fruit, or so much of it as is well ripened, has been gathered,
it is thrown into heaps and should be opened within twenty-four hours.
The opening is done in a variety of ways, but the practice followed in
Surinam would be an excellent one here if experienced labor was not at
command. There, with a heavy knife or cutlass (bolo), they cut off the
base or stem end of the fruit and thereby expose the column to which the
seeds are attached, and then women and children, who free most of the
seeds, are able to draw out the entire seed mass intact. It is exceedingly
important that the seeds are not wounded, and for that reason it is inex-
pedient to intrust the more expeditious method of halving the fruit with
a sharp knife to any but experienced workmen.
The process of curing that I have seen followed in these Islands is sim-
plicity itself. Two jars half filled with water are provided for the clean-
ers, and as the seeds are detached from the pulp they are sorted and
graded on the spot. Only those of large, uniform size, well formed and
thoroughly ripe, being thrown into one ; deformed, small, and imperfectly
matured seeds going to the other. In these jars the seeds are allowed to
stand in their own juice for a day, then they are taken out, washed in
fresh water, dried in the sun from two to four days, according to the
weather, and the process from the Filipino standpoint is complete.
Much of the product thus obtained is singularly free from bitterness
and of such excellent quality as to be salable at unusually high prices,
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 17
and at the same time in such good demand that it is with some hesitancy
that the process of fermentation is recommended for general use.
But it is also equally certain that localities in these Islands will be
planted to cacao where all the conditions that help to turn out an unri-
valed natural product are by no means assured. For such places, where
the rank-growing, more coarse-flavored, and bitter-fruited Forastero may
produce exceptionally good crops, it will become incumbent on the planter
to adopt some of the many methods of fermentation, whereby he can cor-
rect the crudeness of the untreated bean and receive a remunerative price
for the "processed^^ or ameliorated product.
Undoubtedly the Strickland method, or some modification of it, is
the best, and is now in general use on all considerable estates where the
harvest is 200 piculs or upward per annum, and its use probably assures
a more uniform product than any of the ruder processes in common use
by small proprietors.
But it must not be forgotten that the present planters in the Philip-
pines are all small proprietors, and that until such time as the maturing
of large plantations calls for the more elaborate apprratus of the Strick-
land pattern, some practice whereby the inferior crude bean may be eco-
nomically and quickly converted into a marketable product can not be
avoided. As simple and efficacious as any is that largely pursued in some
parts of Venezuela, where is produced the famous Caracas cacao.
The beans and pulp are thrown into wooden vats that are pierced with
holes sufficient to permit of the escape of the juice, for which twenty-four
hours suffices. The vat is then exposed to the sun for five or six hours,
and the beans, while still hot, are taken out, thrown into large heaps,. and
covered with blankets.
The next day they are returned to the box, subjected to a strong sun
heat and again returned to the heap. This operation is repeated for sev-
ral days, until the beans, by their bright chocolate color and suppleness,
indicate that they are cured. If, during the period of fermentation, rain
is threatened or occurs, the beans are shoveled, still hot, into bags and re-
tained there until they can once more be exposed to the sun. Before the
final bagging they are carefully hand rubbed in order to remove the ad-
herent gums and fibrous matters that did not pass off in the primary
In Ceylon, immediately after the beans have been fermented they are
washed, and the universally high prices obtained by the Ceylon planters
make it desirable to reproduce here a brief resume of their method. The
fermentation is carried on under sheds, and the beans are heaped up in
beds of 60 cm. to 1 meter in thickness apon a platform of parallel joists
arranged to permit of the escape of the juices. This platform is elevated
from the ground and the whole heap is covered with sacks or matting.
The fermentation takes from five to seven days, according to the heat of
18 farmers' bulletin.
the atmosphere and the size of the heap, and whenever the temperature
rises above 40° the mass is carefully turned over with wooden shovels.
Immediately after the fermentation is completed the Ceylon planter
passes the mass through repeated washings, and nothing remains but to
dry the seed. This in Ceylon is very extensively done, in dryers of dif-
ferent kinds, some patterned after the American fruit dryer, some in
slowly rotating cylinders through the axis of which a powerful blast of
hot air is driven.
The process of washing unquestionably diminishes somewhat the
weight of the cured bean; for that reason the practice is not generally
followed in other countries, but in the case of the Ceylon product it is;
one of the contributing factors to the high prices obtained.
ENEMIES AND DISEASES.
Monkeys, rats, and parrots are here and in all tropical countries th(
subject of much complaint, and if the plantation is remote from towns oi
in the forest, their depredations can only be held in check by the constant
presence of well-armed hunter or watchman. Of the more serious ene-
mies with which we have to -^ il, pernicious insects and in particular
those that attack the wood of the tree, everything has yet to be learned.
Mr. Charles N. Banks, an accomplished entomologist, now stationed at
Maao, Occidental Negros, is making a close study of the life history of
the insect enemies of cacao, and through his researches it is hoped that
much light will be thrown upon the whole subject and that ways will be
devised to overcome and prevent the depredations of these insect pests.
The most formidable insect that has so far been encountered is a beetle,
which pierces and deposits its eggs within the bark. When the worm
hatches, it enters the wood and traverses it longitudinally until it is read}-
to assume the mature or beetle state, when it comes to the surface and
makes its escape. These worms will frequently riddle an entire branch
and even enter the trunk. The apertures that the beetle makes for the
laying of its eggs are so small — ^more minute than the head of a pin —
that discovery and probing for the worm with a fine wire is not as fruit-
ful of results as has been claimed.
Of one thing, however, we are positively assured, i. e., that the epoch of
ripening of the cacao fruit is the time when its powerful fragrance serves
to attract the greatest number of these beetles and many other noxious
insects to the grove. This, too, is the time when the most constant and
abundant supply of labor is on the plantation and when vast numbers of
these insects can be caught and destroyed. The building of small fires
'at night in the groves, as commonly practiced here and in many tropical
countries, is attended with some benefits. Lately, in India, this remedy
has been subject to an improvement that gives promise of results which \^
will in time minimize the ravages of insect pests. It is in placing power-
ful acetylene lights over broad, shallow vats of water overlaid with min-
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 19
eral oil or petroleum. Some of these lamps now made under recent pat-
ents yield a light of dazzling brilliancy, and if well distributed would
doubtless lure millions of insects to their death. The cheap cost of the
fuel also makes the remedy available for trial by every planter.
There is a small hemipterous insect which stings the fruit when about
two-thirds grown, and deposits its eggs within. For this class of insects
M. A. Tonduz, who has issued publications on the diseases of cacao in
Venezuela, recommends washing the fruit with salt water, and against
the attacks of beetles in general by painting the tree stem and branches
with Bordeaux mixture, or with the vassiliere insecticide, of which the
basis is a combination of whale-oil soap and petroleum suspended in lime
wash. There can be no possible virtue in the former, except as a pre-
ventive against possible fungous diseases; of the sanitive value of the
latter we can also afford to be skeptical, as the mechanical sealing of the
borer's holes, and thereby cutting off the air supply, would only result
in driving the worm sooner to the surface. The odor of petroleum and
])articularly of whale-oil soap is so repellant, however, to most insects that
its prophylactic virtues would undoubtedly be great.
The Philippine Islands appear to be so far singulax'ly exempt from the
very many cryptogamic or fungous diseases, blights, mildews, rusts, and
cankers that have played havoc with cacao-growing in many countries.
That we should enjoy continued immunity will depend greatly upon se-
curing seeds or young plants only from noninfested districts or from
reputable dealers, who will carefully disinfect any shipments, and to sup-
plement this by a close microscopical examination upon arrival and the
immediate burning of any suspected shipments.
Another general precaution that will be taken by every planter who
aims to maintain the best condition in his orchard is the gathering and
burning of all prunings or trimmings from the orchard, whether they are
diseased or not. Decaying wood of any kind is a field for special activity
for insect life and fungous growth, and the sooner it is destroyed the
On this account it is customary in some countries to remove the fruit
pods from the field. But unless diseased, or unless they are to be re-
turned after the harvest, they should be buried upon the land for their
There are few cultivated crops that make less drain upon soil fertility
than cacao, and few drafts upon the land are so easily and inexpensively
returned. From an examination made of detailed analyses by many au-
thors and covering many regions, it may be broadly stated that an average
crop of cacao in the most-favored districts is about 9 piculs per hectare,
and that of the three all-important elements of nitrogen, phosphoric acid,
and potash, a total of slightly more than 4.2 kilograms is removed in each
20 farmers' bulletin.
picul of cured seeds harvested. These 37 kilos of plant food that are an-
ntialh^ taken from each hectare may be roughly subdivided as follows :
18 kilos of nitrogen,
10 kilos of potash,
9 kilos of phosphoric acid.
On this basis, after the plantation is in full bearing, we would have to
make good with standard fertilizers each year for each hectare about '220
kilos of nitrate of soda, or, if the plantation was shaded with leguminous
trees, only one-half that amount, or 110 kilos. Of potash salts, say the
sulphate, only one-half that amount, or 55 kilos, if the plantation was un-
shaded. If, however, it was shaded, as the leguminous trees are all heavy
feeders of potash, we would have to double the amount and use 110 kilos.
In any case, as fixed nitrogen always represents a cost quite double that
of potash, from an economical standpoint the planter is still the gainer
who supplies potash to the shade trees. There still remains phosphoric
acid, which, in the form of the best superphosphate of lime, would re-
quire 55 kilos for unshaded orchards, and about 70 if dap-dap, Pionciana,
or any leguminous tree was grown in the orchard. These three ingre-
dients may be thoroughly incoriwrated and used as a top dressing and
lightly harrowed in about each tree.
If the commercial nitrates can not be readily obtained, then recourse
must be had to the sparing use of farm manures. Until the bearing age
these may be used freely, but after that with caution and discrimination.
Although I have seen trees here that have been bearing continuously for
twenty-two years, I have been unable to find so much as one that to the
knowledge of the oldest resident has ever been fertilized in any way, yet,
notwithstanding our lack of knowledge of local conditions, it seems per-
fectly safe to predicate that liberal manuring with stable manure or
highly ammoniated fertilizers would insure a rank, succulent growth
that is always prejudicial to the best and heaviest fruit production. In
this I am opposed to Professor Hart,^ who seems to think that stable ma-
nures are those only that may be used with a free hand.
We have many safe ways of applying nitrogen through the medium of]
various catch crops of pulse or beans, with the certainty that we can never ^
overload the soil with more than the adjacent tree roots can take up and
thoroughly assimilate. When the time comes that the orchard so shades
the ground that crops can no longer be grown between the rows, then, in
preference to stable manures I would recommend cotton-seed cake or
"poonac,^^ the latter being always obtainable in this Archipelago.
While the most desirable form in which potash can be applied is in the
form of the sulphate, excellent results have been had with the use of
Kainit or Stassfurth salts, and as a still more available substitute, wood
ashes is suggested. When forest lands are near, the underbrush may be
^ "Cacao," p. 16.
CACAO CULTURE IN THP: PHILIPPINES. 21
cut and burned in a clearing or wherever it may be done without detri-
ment to the standing timber, and the ashes scattered in the orchard before
they have been leached by rains. The remaining essential of phosphoric
acid in the form of superphosphates will for some years to come necessa-
rily be the subject of direct importation. In the cheap form of phosphate
slag it is reported to have been used with great success in both Grenada
and British Guiana, and would be well worthy of trial here.
Lands very rich in humus, as some of our forest valleys are, undoubt-
edly carry ample nitrogenous elements of fertility to maintain the trees
at a high standard of growth for many years, but provision is indispensa-
ble for a regular supply of potash and phosphoric acid as soon as the
trees come into heavy bearing. It is to them and not to the nitrogen that
we look for the formation of strong, stocky, well-ripened wood capable
of fruit bearing and for fruit that shall be sound, highly flavored, and
The bearing life of such a tree will surely be healthfully prolonged for
many years beyond one constantly driven with highly stimulating foods,
and in the end amply repay the grower for the vigilance, toil, and original
expenditure of money necessary to maintaining a well-grown and well-
appointed cacao plantation.
New Varieties. — Cacao is exclusively grown from seed, and it is only by
careful selection of the most valuable trees that the planter can hope to
make the most profitable renewals or additions to his plantations. It is
by this means that many excellent sorts are now in cultivation in different
regions that have continued to vary from the three original, common
forms of Theohroma cacao, until now it is a matter of some difiiculty to
Residence. — The conditions for living in the Philippines offer peculiar,
it may be said unexampled, advantages to the planter of cacao. The cli-
mate as a whole is remarkably salubrious, and sites are to be found nearly
everywhere for the estate buildings, sufficiently elevated to obviate the
necessity of living near stagnant waters.
Malarial fevers are relatively few, predacious animals unknown, and
insects and reptiles prejudicial to human life or health extraordinarily
few in number. In contrast to this we need only call attention to the en-
tire Caribbean coast of South America, where the climate and soil condi-
tions are such that the cacao comes to a superlative degree of perfection,
and yet the limits of its further extension have probably been reached by
the insuperable barrier of a climate so insalubrious that the Caucasian's
life is one endless conflict with disease, and when not engaged in active
combat with some form of malarial poisoning his energies are concen-
trated upon battle with the various insect or animal pests that make life
a burden in such regions. '
22 farmers' bulletin.
Nonresidence upon a cacao plantation is an equivalent term for ulti-
mate failure. Every operation demands the exercise of the obervant eye
and the directing hand of a master, but there is no field of horticultural
effort that offers more assured reward, or that will more richly repay
close study and the application of methods wrought out as the sequence
of those studies.
ESTIMATED COST AND REVENUES DERIVED FROM A
Estimates of expenses in establishing a cacao farm in the Visayas and
profits after the fifth year. The size of the farm selected is 16 hectares,
the amount of land prescribed by Congress of a single public land entry.
The cost of procuring such a tract of land is as yet undetermined and can
not be reckoned in the following tables. The prices of the crop are esti-
mated at 48 cents per kilo, which is the current price for the best grades
of cacao in the world's markets. The yield per tree is given as 2 catties,
or 1.25 kilos, a fair and conservative estimate for a good tree, with little
or no cultivation. The prices for unskilled labor are 25 per cent in ad-
vance of the farm hand in the Visayan islands. No" provision is riiade for
management or supervision, as the owner will, it is assumed, act as
Charges to capital account are given for the second, third, and fourth
year, but no current expenses are given, for other crops are to defray op-
erating expenses until th^ cacao trees begin to bear. No estimate of resi-
dence is given. All accounts are in United States currency.
Expendable the first year.
Capital account :
Clearing of average brush and timber land, at $15 per
Four carabaos, plows, harrows, cultivators, carts, etc 550.00
Breaking and preparing land, at $5 per hectare 80. 00
Opening main drainage canals, at $6 per hectare 96. 00
Tool house and storeroom 200. 00
Purchase and planting 10,000 abacd stools, at 2 cents
Seed purchase, rearing and planting 12,000 cacao, at 3
cents each 360.00
Contingent and incidental 174.00
Interest on investment $200. 00
Depreciation on tools, buildings, and animals (20 per
cent of cost) ^ 150.00
Third year. \ ^
Interest on investment $200.00 'l^
Depreciation as above 150,00
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 23
Capital account — Continued.
Interest on investment 1 $200. 00
Depreciation as above 150.00
Building of drying house and sweat boxes, capacity
20,000 kilos 450.00
Total capital investment 3,500.00
From 11,680 cacao trees, 300 grams cacao each, equals
3,500 kilos, at 48 cents 1,680.00
Fixed interest and depreciation charges on investment of
Taxes 1^, per cent on a one-third vakiation basis of $250
per hectare 60. 00
Cultivating, pruning, etc., at $5.50 per hectare . 88. 00
Fertilizing, at $6 per hectare 96.00
Harvesting, curing, packing 3,500 kilos cacao, at 10 cents
Credit balance 650.00
From 11,680 cacao trees, at 500 grams cacao each, equals
5,840 kilos, at 48 cents 2, 803. 20
Fixed interest and depreciation charges as above $350. 00
Taxes as above 60.00
Cultivating, etc., as above 88.00
Fertilizing, at $8 per hectare 128.00
Harvesting, etc., 5,840 kilos cacao, at 10 cents per kilo_-- 584. 00
Credit balance 1,500.00
From 11,680 cacao trees, at 750 grams cacao each, equals
8,760 kilos, at48cents_- 4,204.80
Fixed interest charges as above $350. 00
Taxes as above 60.00
Cultivating, etc., as above 88.00
Fertilizing, at $10 per hectare 160.00
Harvest, etc., of 8,760 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per kilo- 876. 00
Contingent - 170.80
1, 704. 80
Credit balance 2,500.00
24 farmers' bulletin.
From 11,680 cacao trees, at 1 kilo cacao each, equals
11,680 kilos, at 48 cents $5,606.40
Fixed interest charges as above $350.00
Taxes as above --
Cultivating, etc., as above
Fertilizing, at $12.50 per hectare
Harvest, etc., 11,680 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per kilo.
2, 106. 40
1, 168. 00
Credit balance 3,500.00
From 11,680 trees, at 2 ''catties" or 1.25 kilos cacao
each, equals 14,600 kilos, at 48 cents 7,008.00
Fixed interest charges as above $350. 00
Taxes at IJ per cent on a one-third valuation of $500
per hectare 120.00
Cultivation and pruning as above 88.00
Fertilizing, at $15 per hectare 240. 00
Harvesting, etc., of 14,600 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per
Contingent i 250.00
Credit balance 4,500.00
In the tenth year there should be no increase in taxes or fertilizers, and
a slight increase in yield, sufficient to bring the net profits of the estate to
the approximate amount of $5,000. This would amount to a dividend of
rather more than $312 per hectare, or its equivalent of about $126 per
These tables further show original capitalization cost of nearly $90 per
acre, and from the ninth year annual operating expenses of rather more
than $60 per acre.
It should be stated, however, that the operating expenses are based upon
.a systematic and scientific management of the estate ; while the returns or
income are based upon revenue from trees that are at the disadvantage of
being without culture of any kind, and, while I am of the opinion that the
original cost per acre of the plantation, nor its current operating expenses
may be much reduced below the figures given, I feel that there is a reason-
able certainty that the crop product may be materially increased beyond
the limit of two "catties."
In Camerouns, Dr. Preuss, a close and well-trained observer, gives the\
mean annual yield of trees of full-bearing age at 4.4 pounds.
CACAO CULTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 25
Mr. Rousselot places the yield on the French Congo at the same figure
In the Caroline Islands it reaches 5 pounds and in Surinam, according
to M. Nichols, the average at maturity is 6| pounds. In Mindanao, I
have been told, but do not vouch for the report, of more than ten "catties"
taken in one year from a single tree; and, as there are well-authenticated
instances of record, of single trees having yielded as much as 30 pounds^
I am not prepared to altogether discredit the Mindanao story.
The difference, however, between good returns and enormous profits
arising from cacao growing in the Philippines will be determined by the
amount of knowledge, experience, and energy that the planter is capable
of bringing to bear upon the culture in question.
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