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NATIVE CACAO BEANS .– The moniliasis plague and the popularity of the genetically altered cacao bean, made the vast variety of local cacao bean fall into oblivion. But now, 40 years later, the local cacao bean is recovered again thanks to the local farmers who knew how to preserve it.

Translated by Sarah Noras.

Eliodoro and Bernarda Morales are cacao beans producers. Together with Cooperativas Sin Fronteras, Appta and Stibrawpa are working in order to bring back to life the production of local cacao beans in Costa Rica. 

Eliodoro: The way my grandfather cultivated the cacao bean was quite simple. You only have to chop off the mamones and trim off the excess branches and that´s it. When the moniliasis plague appeared, the way of treating the cacao changed in a significant way. Since the moniliasis tends to be in the highest part of the plant, we had to lower the cacaos trees . This was complicated, so many people stopped working with natives cacao plants. But we never left it. When ANAI and APPTA gave us hybrid and cloned plants, we started to cultivate them in a area of our land. However, we did not stop harvesting our local original cacao beans. So, that´s why we still have it. 

The first batches of hybrid and cloned cacao plants with improved genetics were introduced between in the 1980´s and the 90´s with the purpose to recover the crops from the moniliasis plague. This strategy was created by Investigation Institutes and the Costa Rican government.

Eliodoro: When we sell to Appta our local original cacao beans, there is a variety of different colors and types of cacao which they don`t noticed, but we do, because we are the ones who produce it. They don't realize the diversity that we are selling to them. 

We believe that there is a strong bond between the indigenous culture and the cacao´s production, therefore, we are the first ones to bring back to life local original cacao in Costa Rica, which it was not extinguish by the moniliasis plague. This is possible due to, indigenous Bribris who safeguarded the native plant, and now it is back. 

Together we can do more.

Translated By Débora Solís.