Cocoa-Harvest and storage
Cocoa starts giving economic yield from three years of planting. It takes about 170 days for a cocoa pod to develop from formation to maturity. The harvesting stage can be identified by the change in colour of the pod. A yellow colour appears on the groves, which later spreads throughout the entire pod.
Pods remain suitable for harvesting for fairly long time. Harvesting should be done at regular intervals normally at 7-10 days. Avoid over ripening of pods.
Pods are removed by cutting with a sickle-sharp knife, without damaging the cushion from which it is developed.
The harvested pods are heaped for two to three days. This will hasten pre-fermentation activity inside the pod.
After 2-3 days, the pods are split by banging them against some hard objects. Opening the pods with a knife damages the beans.
Beans from the split pods are scraped out with fingers. Portions of placenta and broken, germinated, caked, parthenocarpic and undeveloped beans are removed.
The beans thus extracted are taken to processing centers at the earliest.
On an average, 10-12 pods give 1 kg of wet beans and 3 kg of wet beans (from 30-36 pods) give 1 kg of fermented and dried beans.
The discards at the harvest should be used for compost making.