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Assessment of cocoa farmers' knowledge and preferences as regards planting material in Cameroon

Efombagn M.I.B., Vefonge D., Nkobe M., Sounigo O., Nyassé S., Eskes A.. 2009. In : Eskes Albertus (ed.), Efron Yoel (ed.), End M.J. (ed.), Bekele Frances L. (ed.). Proceedings of the international workshop on cocoa breeding for farmers' needs, 15th - 17th October 2006, San José, Costa Rica. Reading : INGENIC, p. 104-114. International Workshop on Cocoa Breeding for Farmers¿ Needs. 5, 2006-10-15/2006-10-17, San José (Costa Rica).

In this study, as part of the cocoa selection process, the farmers' knowledge of cocoa planting materials in two major cocoa growing areas of Cameroon is considered. Two surveys were carried out in farmers' fields to assess the agronomic profile of their cocoa planting materials, their satisfaction with them, and their expectations for future newly released varieties. In the first survey, the purpose was to build a typology of cocoa plantations. In most of the 129 cocoa plantations studied, a strong relationship was found between the performance of the farms (yield and low incidence of Phytophthora pod rot) and farmers' practices, such as the use of chemical control. This result suggests that the level of management of cocoa farms improves yield more than the genetic origin of the planting material used on-farm in the study. In the second survey, the cocoa farmers' level of satisfaction with respect to the varieties grown and their preferred criteria in cocoa selection were determined. Among 690 farmers interviewed, 87% were satisfied with the traditional varieties (TV), whereas only 39% of the producers were satisfied with the hybrid varieties (HV). An analysis of preferences towards the selection criteria within each varietal type has revealed that farmers consider yield as the criterion to be improved inTV, whereas resistance to Phytophthora pod rot remains the most challenging for HV. The impact of other agronomic criteria in the varietal selection of cocoa in Cameroon is also discussed in the paper.

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