Starting a cocoa farming business may seem like a daunting idea, but when you have a step-by-step guide to following through and executing the idea, it can be a huge success! Here is our guide to starting a cocoa farming business.
Develop a business plan
A business plan is required when starting this business. The business description, products offered, organizational structure, marketing plan, competitive analysis, operating plan, and financial data are all essential elements to include in your business plan.
Secure a space
You will need plenty of space to start the unit. Actual demand, however, is determined by the amount of treatment you start and the volume of product. This type of activity also requires a large amount of storage space for raw materials and finished products. Therefore, you should acquire a location for the processing operation according to your business strategy.
Obtain a license and authorization
Cocoa processing and the production of value-added products are part of the food processing sector. Therefore, you should check the license requirements in your region.
The installation of the unit requires the installation of machinery, as well as the wiring of the installation. You will also need to hire skilled labor to keep the machine running efficiently.
Cocoa processing method
You can store the pods for a maximum of four days after harvesting them straight away. It contributes to the improvement of the pre-fermentation activity in the pods and to the production of high quality dried beans. By heating the pods against a hard surface, you can crack them open. You can also extract the beans without placenta and ferment them immediately.
First cover the raw beans with a soft, mucilaginous pulp. Wet beans are beans that contain pulp. The “nib”, or core, is a useful portion that is bitter and tasteless. In general, the various fermentation processes include holding a mass containing a reasonable number of moist grains together for four to six days. Every other day, combine everything correctly.
The pulp surrounding the mass has disappeared. Beans have also undergone various metabolic changes. They are also essential for adding the taste of chocolate. Fresh beans should be stored compactly to create and retain heat. It helps in the completion of internal chemical changes.
Biochemical changes during fermentation
Dough is typically about 80% water, 10-15% glucose and fructose, and 0.5% non-volatile acids, mostly citric acid. First you need to sterilize the first one. The abundance of carbohydrates and the high acidity (PH 3.5) create ideal conditions for microbial growth.
The temperature rises steadily throughout the first two days, reaching 40–45°C, then drops to around 48–50°C after initial mixing. Bean mortality is caused by an increase in temperature and acidity, which is followed by a loss of selective membrane permeability.
Different Fermentation Methods of Cocoa Farming
This involves keeping a pile of moist beans of at least 50 kg on a blanket of banana leaves. To keep banana leaves a little elevated above ground level, place them on a few wooden poles. It helps in the flow of perspiration.
The beans are placed in 90cm x 60cm x 13cm wooden trays with slats or harvesters mounted to the bottom and spaces in between. Each tray holds approximately 45 kg of wet beans. Stack six similar trays on top of each other, leaving an empty tray at the bottom to allow perspiration to drain. Keep the beans on the highest tray after stacking them and cover them with banana leaves. To retain the heat released after 24 hours of sitting, cover the stack of trays with a burlap sack.
Use 1.2 mx 0.95 mx 0.75 m wooden boxes with holes in the bottom for this procedure. Fill the cans halfway with moist beans. These crates can usually carry a ton of wet beans. Every other day you will need to stir the beans. Since the number of beans is large, it is best to move the beans from box to box throughout the mixing process.
Small scale fermentation methods
You can use the tray approach or the box method for a small-scale operation. The plateau approach, on the other hand, is the most effective. With just a few beans you can get by. The length of fermentation is influenced by a variety of variables. The most essential characteristics are weather variations and seasons. Unripe pods are also not eligible for fermentation. Additionally, Criollo beans ferment faster than Forastero beans. Well-fermented grains are plump. The liquid inside is reddish brown in color. The testicle separates from the cotyledons and becomes loose.
The beans absorb moisture and reach an equilibrium moisture content under the circumstances observed in cocoa growing belts. It is not recommended for long term storage. As a result, you can only store the beans for a limited time without them spoiling. Dried beans with 6-8% moisture content can be packed in polythene-lined jute bags. However, before storing the grains, you must clean and break them.
First published: June 19, 2022, 02:44 IST