The eastern part of Cuba, the province of Baracoa, is known for the large amount of rain that falls – one meter per year.
This natural irrigation and mountainous area, plus the small-scale farming with numerous smaller farmers means that farming here is nothing like anywhere else.
Baracoa is an agricultural province par excellence, especially for the production of cocoa, coconut and wood, all in an ecological way that has been self-evident here for decades.
Baracoa produces about 75 percent of the country’s total cocoa and 70 percent of the country’s coconut crop.
In this fertile land, cocoa and coconut seem to grow “in the wild”. It is a joy to walk through villages, towns and past farms in the area to enjoy the abundant cocoa plants, which proudly display their fruit almost all year round.
According to locals, due to abundant rainfall and the ideal constant temperature, Baracoa has an ideal climate for cocoa, once worshiped by the Aztecs who used their seeds as a means of payment in trade. It has two main harvest seasons: a major harvest from March to June and another smaller one that extends from September to February. Production varies between 1200 and 1500 tons.
On many plantations the plants are intersected with banana trees and cassava, which provides better and more secure income. But also for a better eco-structure. The life of the farmers is good, they are often large families who live with agriculture in a comfortable and well-furnished brick house.
Breathtaking views from Baracoa.
The vegetation in Baracoa is characterized by an infinity of green hues. This province has a wealth of nearly 75,000 hectares of forest: two-thirds wild and the rest as plantations.
Scientific study center Cacao
Like almost all staple crops involved in Cuban agricultural production, cocoa also has a center for scientific studies headquartered in Baracoa, the mecca of this fruit in Cuba. This center is mainly dedicated to the research and creation of high yielding pest resistant hybrids, while preserving the cultivar’s genetic characteristics. In collaboration with international seed breeders.
The Cocoa Research Station has a seed bank that maintains at least ten replicas of each of the 256 cocoa genotypes found in the country.