[permaculture] Coconuts & permaculture

christopher nesbitt christopher.nesbitt at mmrfbz.org
Tue Mar 18 21:42:20 EDT 2008

Hi Charles,

I have never been to Trinidad. You have the Cocoa Research Institute  
and its seed bank there, and I would love to visit.

Belize also is heavily dependent on imports of food. Some rural  
areas, down in Belizes under developed south, where we live, for  
example, are pretty secure in staples, rice, beans, corn, but import  
a lot of food, too. Most agriculture in Belize is oriented towards  
export crops, which earn foreign currsency and tax revenue, and then  
purchase foreign foods. Flour just spiked %15 increase, and other  
prices are going up. We are eating sapodilla today, though ;-).

Cabruca style is planting cacao under the shade of selected forest  
trees, so the transition from forest to cacao is softer on the  
environment, and the canopy is typically comprised of native species.  
This style creates a lot of habitat and is useful for maintaining  
buffer zones between cultuvated and wild areas.

I was in Venezuela in 2001 & 2006 looking at coffee and cacao,  
respectively. In 2006, Venezuela had obviously spent a lot of money  
in infrastructure, highways, etc, but there was a lot of poverty,  
too. I have been to Estacion Experimental Chama in Zulia and Ocumare,  
Cata and Cuyagua to look at cacao, and up above Merida to look at  
coffee. It is a beautiful country, but crowded and increasingly  

Vanilla is labour intensive, but can be rewarding. It sells for up t  
USD50 a kilo now, for premium grade beans. We use glyricidia stakes,  
and various fruit trees for tutors, and hand pollinate. We are  
collecting much of our vanilla from the high bush, and have an FAO ] 
grant proposal for mapping vanilla in the wild out now. With any  
luck, we will get this project within a month. Like cacao, vanilla is  
a native plant species.

If you get a chance to visit, please do. We have a lot going on here  
with plants.

On Mar 17, 2008, at 11:52 AM, Charles de Matas wrote:

> Belize (and Bahia) are places that I would like to visit some day.   
> Unfortunately the time of your PDC's are not convenient for me.  My  
> mouth begins to water when I think of the sapodillas that you must  
> be getting in Belize now.  Last week I bought a few sapodillas from  
> a roadside vendor and he told me they were imported from another  
> caribbean island, St Vincent.  That's the stage we have reached  
> here in Trinidad and Tobago, having to import sapodillas.  We are  
> importing practically all of our food, even the fruits that we can  
> be grown locally.  This is due to the rapid "development" that is  
> going on in the country. The same thing is happening in Venezuela.   
> They are importing nearly all of their food and the poorer people  
> are facing unbearable food prices.
>    Anyway, what is this cabruca syle of cacao production?  I'd like  
> to learn more.  I'd also like to learn more vanilla as a cash  
> crop.  Is it very labour intensive?
> Charles
> T&T
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Christopher Nesbitt

Maya Mountain Research Farm
San Pedro Columbia, Toledo
PO 153 Punta Gorda Town, Toledo
Central America


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