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  1. I had a wonderful month in Costa Rica. I found some reasons to return. It involves cacao. I found cacao trees in unexpected places. Would you want to have a cacao plantation? If you have a 12 x 12 yard you could give permission to your strata manager, your property manager and your gardener to plant and take care of a cacao tree for you. ( a small cacao plantation ) There are six varieties of cacao trees that could be used. http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/01/27/costa-ricas-chocolate-comeback CATIE crossbred selected strains for optimal disease resistance. With disease-proof cacao in hand, CATIE began breeding other desirable traits into clones, like high yield rates and fine flavor. For small farms, the clones are available for free. If Costa Rican farmers start using these, they won’t regret it. Catalogue of cacao clones selected by CATIE for commercial plantings CATIE-R1, CATIE-R4, CATIE-R6, CC-137, ICS-95 T1 and PMCT-58. There are 4 nurseries operated by ICE, and they will give you the trees for free. Humm, I think they would need motivation to start growing cacao for you. http://10degreesabove.com/free-trees-ices-vivero-program/ The vivero’s are in the following locations: Cachi in Cartago Freehold in Siquirres, Limon – FB & 2765 82 68 La Garita in Alajuela Tronadora in Guanacaste They have the necessary infrastructures to grow the cacao clones. I found a listing of trees available in Tronadora. ( no cacao trees) http://www.scribd.com/doc/58463070/lista-especies-junio-2011# LISTA DE ESPECIES VIVERO FORESTAL TRONADORA ICE Normally, here what the start up of a cacao plantation would involve. http://www.icco.org/faq/57-cocoa-production/125-how-much-time-and-money-would-have-to-be-invested-to-get-a-cocoa-farm-operational-and-what-are-the-on-going-production-costs.html Setting up a cocoa farm Starting a cocoa farm involves: Obtaining the land for cocoa cultivation - this is a cost that will vary widely around the world and within a country. The land must be chosen so as to provide the best soil and climate for the cocoa trees. Establishing the plantation - the costs involved here include clearing the land, planting shade and cocoa trees, pruning, weeding, fertiliser and pesticide applications and constructing the required infrastructure such as roads, irrigation ditches, nursery and processing facilities. Maintaining the plantation - these costs involve pruning, weeding, fertiliser and pesticide applications, harvesting and post harvest processing. The largest cost element in both establishing and maintaining a plantation is the labour. Farm sizes vary and therefore labour costs vary, with many smallholders working the land themselves rather than hiring labourers. So the costs for a large estate will be higher than for a smallholder. A review of the case studies on labour usage for the maintenance of cocoa suggested that the mean labour usage, assuming a labourer works 230 days per year, in plantation conditions is 3.37 hectares per man per year. Traceability (example) https://www.geotraceability.com/Geotraceability/en/data-collection-modules.php#initialdatacollection INITIAL DATA COLLECTION MODULE This module includes tools to carry out field mapping and to collect field data like farm characteristics, farming practices and plant diseases. Socio-economic information on the producer and their family members could also be recorded. Field mapping is done with GPS that captures geo referenced coordinates of farm and land use borders. Elevation is also recorded. The TMS software includes GIS technology to process the data collected (Geographical Information System). TMS generates digital maps with the possibility to overlay different layers of information. Initial data collection constitutes a baseline from a monitoring and evaluation perspective. Data collected during the data updates can be compared to this baseline to show changes and progress made by producers. Data recorded during the initial collection round could be updated on a yearly basis or at whatever frequency to show changes and progress. Data is collected during regular producer/ fields visits. Data will be added to producers’ profile, field sheet or infrastructure records. This module is very useful to monitor, among other things, pests and diseases attacking plants. You can help. Your contribution would be a positive influence on your lifestyle and the economy of Costa Rica. Your gardener could be delivering the pod to a collection center for processing. The fair price for cacao dried beans at 7% humidity is $0.80/pound. How many cacao trees would you be able to grow on your land for your mini-plantation? Send me a private message. I would like to get an idea of how many people would be interested in helping to revive the Costa Rican cacao industry.
  2. I've got a question for all foodies, I've heared that Cacao is grown in Costa Rica, is this true? If so, is it readily available? What is its costs? In what form is it sold? Also what are some other superfoods is Costa Rica known for? Are goji berries local? Any information would be great! Pura Vida

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