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Manual pollination helps eliminate the above inconvenience.

The percentage of self-fertilisation

observe after manual pollination is 3 to 7% without the isolation of the flowers and drops to
between 1 to 2% when these flowers are isolated using isolation devices like pieces of mosquito nets
put the day before the flowers open out and removed 48 hours after manual pollination.
It seems necessary within the framework of the re-launch of the cocoa sector in Cameroon to
propose a more productive plant material is through manual pollination. Manual pollination is a
technique, which consists of taking the pollens from a male plant and depositing on the pistil of the
female plant.
- Manual pollination permits us to overcome the above inconveniences. The percentage of selffertilisation observed after manual pollination is between 3 and 7% without isolation of the flowers
and drops to between 1 and 2% when the flowers are isolated with isolation devices such as pieces
of mosquito nets, which are placed the day before the flowers blossom and removed 48hours after
manual pollination.
- There is absolute or total assurance of the origin of the parents (no free fertilization nor selffertilisation)
- Crossing of more than 100% of the number of pods per female tree
- Reduced surface area to be planted with male trees/plants
- One can choose and determine the harvesting period. We know that farmers will want to put up
their nurseries only after they must have completed with harvesting their cocoa. Meanwhile, more
often with natural or free pollination we have very early maturing pods which are not collected by
- Again, manual pollination permits us to obtain a better fertilization of female flowers and a
consequent better rate of pod development and better fill with seed beans. This is explained by the
fact that manual pollination permits to :
- Deposit more pollen on the stigma
- Have very fresh pollen (harvested just after the flower opens up) with a high fertility rate compared
to those transported by insects (which usually take about 24hrs between two flowers).


Cleaning of the farms, preparation of the trees to be pollinated
Before pollinating cocoa trees it is important that they are in an excellent sanitation state and that
the farm itself be cleaned and well treated. Thus a few days before pollination starts we must
prepare the trees by:
- Pruning the trees to be pollinated (pruning of dead wood and weak branches and side shoots) and
the neighbouring trees in order to have enough light that will allow flowering
- Carrying out sanitation harvest of all cherelles and pods on the chosen trees and also on their
immediate neighbours
- Applying fertilisers in order to help the trees to be able to carry a good number of pods
- Eliminating all cherelles and pods coming from natural or free pollination for two reasons:-to avoid
the risk of confusing between manually pollinated pods and naturally or freely pollinated pods. to
maximise the chances of the tree being able to carry manually pollinated pods.

A few days before : choice of female trees

This first part of the work consists of :
- Choosing the female trees which will carry the pods (female trees) and those which will produce
the pollen grains (male trees). This choice takes into consideration the sanitation. This calls for a
good knowledge and a pre-identification (marking) of the different cocoa trees on the field.
- Check the sanitation state and the cleanliness of the area ranging between 50cm to 2m on the tree
trunk and the principal branches because manual pollination can only be carried out on flowers
found within this area generally easy to get to, easy to take care of and easy to control.
- Carry out insecticide treatment a day before manual pollination.
- Control the flushes and the foliage.
- Control the flowering.
A day before the flower opens up (blossom) preferably in the evening
Isolation of the female flowers a day before when the flower is at this stage :
- sides inflated
- well developed flowers
- flowers not attracted by insects
The flowers are protected by a protecting device to avoid pollens from elsewhere.
The pollination day proper, during the early (fresh) hours of the morning
Before pollinating cocoa trees it is important that they be in an excellent sanitation state and that
the farm itself be cleaned and well treated. Thus a few days before pollination starts we must
prepare the trees by:
Harvesting of the pollen
Harvest flowers from the male trees and throw away those flowers which are looking yellowish or
orange. Only those flowers, which look whitish, which can permit us obtain a good result
(fertilisation) should be harvested. The chosen flowers are collected in a small bow in which they can
be stored for hours before being used.
- Cut off the staminate of the female flower to facilitate the manipulation of stage 3
- Remove the stamen from the male flower. The first task consists of exposing the hidden stamen to
be able to easily extract it. Therefore carefully detach the stamen holding it on the staminate.
- Choice of flower on the female tree
On the chosen female trees, select flowers situated on the tree trunk (but above the grafting point in
order not to pollinate the root stock) or on big branches (pods found in small branches have little
chances of surviving).
Fertilisation or manual pollination
Fertilisation is realised through the following stages :
- Removal of the staminate (this permits better access to the pistil and also helps differentiate
between manually pollinated flowers and freely pollinated flowers.
- Harvesting a stamen of the flower coming from a male parent with the aim of the flower to be
pollinated. Restart this operation with a second stamen (in order to be sure that they deposit
sufficient pollen to be able to make the pod develop and obtain pods which are well filled with seed
beans. The pollen sac is collected by splitting it with a forcep in order to deposit it on the pistil of a
female flower by rubbing it carefully in order not to wound (destroy) the pistil. Thereafter it is

recommended that the forceps be cleaned using cotton soaked in spirit in order to wipe away any
pollen that would have stocked to it by error.
Protection and identification (marking)
Using a protection device: this device is use to cover the flower and can only be taken off after
48hours (2days). And finally a label indicating the following is put : the cross date of the operation
name (initials) of pollinator. In the method without a protective device, place a pin around the
proximity of the pollinated flower.
Counting and controlling the success of the operation (pollination)
Remove of the protective device after 48hours :
- 1st control after 7days
- 2nd control after 15days
- 3rd control after 30 days
- 4th control after 45days
- 5th control after 60days
The success of the whole exercise is visible as from the 4th day.
Follow up of the young pods (fruits)
Maintenance of the field (farm)
- Regular clearing of the farm
- Shed control
- Maintenance pruning of the trees
- Elimination of cherelles and pods not resulting manual pollination.
- Regular sanitation harvest (wilted and rotten cherelles and pods
- Pytosanitary treatment, with fungicides (systemic)
- Every 15 days as from the second control up to harvest
- Mix : Insecticides and fungicides
- 1st treatment in July
- 2nd treatment in August.
Note that on maintenance, the quality of maintenance determine the success of all the work
described above.
- Tools
For each pollinator per ha;
- a forcep with a sharp (pointed) end;
- 1packet of cotton
- 600 isolating devices (+10%)
- 1 litre of spirit to disinfect
- 3000 pins (+10%)
- 25000 labels - a pencil
- fungicide (Benlate) - a pen
- insecticide - a brush
- a waterproof marker
- a pair of scissors
- Period of pollination

Pollination is best carried out at the beginning of the rainy season (march-April) to fertilise only the
young and fresh flowers with fresh pollen to assure a high rate of success. Pollination done in June,
July.will give poor results.
It is also necessary that the pods be already developed before facing the dry season. Cherelles suffer
more from drought than developed fruit, and fall off more, hence waste of labour.
Some Norms
- A well organised and experienced pollinator can pollinate up to 200 flowers per morning period of
which 47% will give seed cocoa pods.
- A well maintained cocoa tree can provide 20 pods/year or 25000pods/ha/yr. to attain this result, it
is necessary to pollinate 54000 flowers (43 flowers per tree) considering 1.250exploitable trees/ha.
- Since we need 70pods (seed pods) to create one hectare (losses in nursery included) it means one
hectare of seed garden can supply seeds to create 357 hectares of production farms.
NB: Cocoa trees in a clonal seed garden which are well maintained and in a fertile are can
withstand the weight of more than 100 pods per tree.
Paper presented by Dieudonn Abolo, during the training of CCSP workers in Barombi Kang, Kumba
from the 12th to 17th March 2007.
High demand for more productive cocoa seeds has caused South West seed producers to resort to
manual pollination so as to have what they say will be high yielding, and more resistant cocoa.
To kick off the project, the centre for Cocoa and Coffee Seedling Project, CCSP, Kumba trained its
concerned personnel last March before proceeding with the manual pollination which the officials of
the project say will produce the first ready pods that will be given to farmers for free to nurse by July
Explaining how manual pollination is done, the chief of Centre told TFV that pollen is taken from the
anthers of the male plant and then deposited on the stigma of the flowers of the female plant
manually, after a serous and painstaking process of identifying the male plants and female plants
that are planted separately.
Explaining how care is taken in the process to prevent unwanted breeds, and how the process is
controlled, the chief of Centre Chifor John said some farmers who had got some of the cocoa pods
and nursed them when the research was still going on have already testified that the seeds are
He announced that the first pods from this manual pollination will be available from July up to the
end of the 2009 cocoa season for free to farmers to satisfy the growing demand for cocoa seedlings
which had made it difficult for them to meet.
According to the officials, the pods will be given to farmers to nurse in order to avoid the cost of
transporting the already nursed seedlings. The officials say farmers could nurse their seeds behind
their houses or near their farms but must avoid keeping the cocoa pods after collection from CCSP
for long before nursing because the longer the seeds stay the more they lose their power to
According to the chief of centre and other workers of CCSP that are carrying out the manual
pollination, farmers will be sure of the kind of seeds they are planting rather than seeds that have

been fertilised otherwise. To them, the hybrid cocoa seeds from the manual pollination will produce
faster, and then would be more resistant to attacks than the other species.