1 WELCOME TO
GRANJA LUKER

2 CHOCOLATE
TRADITION

Tip

The chocolatera is a special pot, traditionally used to make hot chocolate in Colombia.

3 360° Virtual
Tour

4 EVERYONE IS
WELCOME HERE

5 THE GRANJA’S
NURSERY

6 GRAFTING

7 PRUNING

8 DISEASES

9 COCOA HARVEST

10 FERMENTATION

11 FINAL DRYING

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1 WELCOME TO
GRANJA LUKER

In 1962, CasaLuker created Granja Luker. One of the few cocoa research centres in the world, its goal is to modernise production and conservation technologies for Cacao Fino de Aroma, providing benefits for the farmers that base their livelihoods on the crop and guaranteeing better quality for our consumers.

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2 CHOCOLATE
TRADITION

At Granja Luker we have developed a training model through which we help our farmers grow a top-quality cocoa, in turn, generating better productivity. Our sowing model –cocoa, plantain, fruit trees, and timber- together with our cocoa growing and post-harvest training programme, guarantee the cocoa families’ short- and long-term income. Today, we train over 700 people a year, and have trained more than 30,000 over the past 50 years.

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3 TRY OUR 360°
VIRTUAL TOUR
AT GRANJA LUKER

CasaLuker invites you to experience our VR 360° at Granja Luker, to find out more about the cradle of the magic of chocolate.

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4 EVERYONE IS
WELCOME HERE

The journey of the cocoa process –from planting through to processing- begins here.

NOTE: At Granja Luker, we have developed different varieties of cocoa, and we found methods for the efficient control of disease and to increase productivity through pruning and plantation design.

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5 THE GRANJA’S
NURSERY

The careful selection of seeds is very important in the sowing process. This helps guarantee the quality of the plant, in this case trees that will produce Cacao Fino de Aroma.

At Granja Luker we plant the cocoa seeds in small plastic bags filled with earth. A couple of days later the plant begins to grow and after 60 days it is ready to be planted in the field.

Seed preparation:

  • The first step is to plant the seed and this is done in greenhouse bags filled with a special substrate known as almacigo.

  • 60 days later the plant is ready for grafting.

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6 GRAFTING A General Description

  • Given the high genetic variability of the plants, 3 to 4 years have to pass after planting and before the first harvest. It is only then it is possible to know whether the tree is productive and whether it’s fruit is of good quality. To guarantee good cocoa characteristics and crop productivity, the trees are grafted as follows:

  • A rootstock tree is planted and given 60 days before the graft is made.

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6 GRAFTING B 60 Days

A small T-shaped cut is made in the stalk of the adult tree with already known productivity and quality characteristics.

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6 GRAFTING C 90 Days

A graft cut is made on the stalk of the rootstock tree and the bud is placed on the cut and sustained with a small piece of plastic. Two weeks later, the shoot develops the new plant and the rootstock branch can be cut. The result is a cocoa tree with top-quality characteristics which guarantees good productivity and top quality aroma and flavour.

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7 PRUNING

At Granja Luker, we teach the farmers how to correctly prune their cocoa trees throughout their lifespans to guarantee that they develop in the best way possible. When the trees reach adulthood, they have to be periodically pruned to guarantee good light and ventilation, which prevents diseases and facilitates flowering.

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8 COCOA DISEASES A General Description

  • Cocoa trees are susceptible to a number of diseases which can easily be controlled through the good farming practices that we teach our farmers during their visit

  • Some of these diseases include:
    Monilia
    Witches’ broom disease
    Phytophthora
    Rosellinia
    Monalonion

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8 COCOA DISEASES B MONILIA

This disease is produced by the fungus Moniliopthera Roreri, which feeds on the cocoa fruit. It produces millions of spores that rapidly multiply when the cocoa is not well managed and when the environment favours the fungus.


SYMPTOMS

  • Young cocoa pods under a month old present premature maturation, wilting and drying.

  • 1-3-month-old cocoa pods become deformed and bulge out.

  • Cocoa pods which have been affected for over 3 months have oily marks, yellowish patches, or partial maturation.

  • After the first symptoms, a brown patch appears, which is covered in a white powder.

  • Finally, the white powder turns grey. WARNING. This is the seed of the disease which is easily blown off by the wind, water or movement, affecting the other pods.


CONTROL

  • On a WEEKLY BASIS collect all the pods that present signs of the disease, especially those less than three months old.

  • Carry out timely maintenance pruning to make the trees lower allowing for adequate air circulation.

  • Use plant materials that have a higher tolerance to the disease.


Note: A cocoa bean pod with spores located at a height of 2 m can infect 40% of the cocoa pods within a 20 m radius.

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8 COCOA DISEASES C WITCHES’ BROOM DISEASE

This is caused by the fungus Crinipellis Perniciosa and affects the plant’s growth tissue, producing abnormal growth and lesions in the shoots, branches, flower cushions, and fruit.


SYMPTOMS

  • In its initial stages, the fungus on the stalks and branches present a vigorous and excessive plant development with the shortening of internodes.

  • When it attacks the flower cushions it stops the cocoa pods from growing and instead gives rise to branch-like vegetative shoots that look like a broom.

  • When it attacks the fruit, it can present different symptoms and look like custard apples, strawberries or carrots.


Note: The fungus can spread through any kind of tissue: seeds, buds and cocoa pods and it also attacks nursery plants.

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8 COCOA DISEASES D BLACK COCOA BEAN PHYTOPHTHORA

This disease is caused by the Phythopthora Sp. Fungus, which attacks the plant’s roots, leaves, stalks, fruit and branches.


SYMPTOMS
Symptoms may vary according to the affected part of the plant::

  • ON THE SEEDLING IN THE NURSERY: the fungus appears on the leaves and stalk making them look burnt and finally killing them.

  • ON THE FRUIT: a discoloured patch appears on the shell, which later turns brown.

  • ON THE ROOT: a brown patch appears on the root, killing the tissue and blocking the passage of nutrients and water and eventually killing the tree.

  • ON THE TRUNK: a brown patch appears which can extend over the bark and wood killing the tree.


CONTROL

  • Prune the trees regularly in order to reduce their height and allow light to enter reducing humidity.

  • Keep your soil and trees weed-free.

  • Install a drainage system if the soil conditions require it.

  • Collect diseased fruits on a weekly basis.

  • Affected roots have to be pruned from the healthy parts.

  • Plant disease resistant and/or tolerant strains.

  • For example, IMC-67, PA 46, PA 121 and PA 150.

Note: When watering plants in the nursery, make sure no soil particles splash onto the leaves.

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8 COCOA DISEASES E ROSELLINIA

ROSELLINIA also known as the star mycelium, affects the root system and the base of the stalk until causing death. The fungus lives in the soil and affects different plant species.


SYMPTOMS

  • The leaves begin to wilt, turn yellow, dry and fall.

  • The branches, stalks and roots become dry and the tree finally dies.


CONTROL

  • Avoid the indiscriminate use of chemical products and fertilisers.

  • Always control the shade system so that the trees are never fully exposed to the sun nor completely in the shade.

  • When one tree becomes diseased it must be isolated from the others in order to stop their roots from contaminating each other through contact.

  • Root up any trees that have been contaminated by Rosellinia.

  • Burn the diseased plants in their place so that the soil can be exposed to the sun.

  • Apply Trichoderma or Bacillus, phosphorous and calcium to help reduce infestation.

  • Add lime for two months before planting grasses, followed by plantain and finally cocoa again.

Note: The roots of the diseased trees can transmit the disease to healthy trees increasing the area of infestation.

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8 COCOA DISEASES F MONALONION

A sucking insect, which sucks the sap from the outside of the cocoa pod, producing lesions that lead to deformations, a reduction in size, and finally stops the young fruit from growing.


SYMPTOMS

  • Black points appear along with small protrusions and lesions which cause the shell to dry and split.


CONTROL

  • Manually remove the nymphs or adults.

  • Reduce humidity by pruning.

  • Keep the cocoa free of the insects, reducing multiplication.

  • Weed regularly.

Note: The insect can be controlled manually. If this is not possible use a low-toxicity chemical product.

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9 COCOA
HARVEST
A General Description

180 days (6 months) later, the cocoa pods are ready to be harvested. Depending on the variety, they can acquire different colours but the most common are burgundy, red, green or yellow.

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9 COCOA
HARVEST

Pruning scissors need to be used for the harvest, taking care not to pull the pods off the branches as cutting them as indicated will lead to new flowering.

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9 COCOA
HARVEST

The cocoa pods are piled up ready to then be shelled by opening them with a machete or mallet.

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9 COCOA
HARVEST

The beans are removed manually and stored in containers that are later transported to the fermentation area. The shells are left on the ground and serve as fertilizer for the plants.

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10 FERMENTATION A General Description

Fermentation is of vital importance for the development of a chocolatey flavour inside the cocoa beans. This process leads to the development of flavour precursors that react with each other in the roasting process carried out in the production plant.

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10 FERMENTATION

The fermentation process begins by putting the cocoa beans in wooden drawers with an approximate capacity for 380 kg. They are covered with plantain leaves or sacks and left for at least 48 hours. During this time, there is no oxygen and the sugars present in the pulp begin to ferment. Acids form (lactic and acetic) and the temperature of the beans rises to 50°C.

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10 FERMENTATION

Forty-eight hours later, the mass of beans is stirred using a wooden paddle. The beans have to be stirred every two hours for approximately three days for the fermentation process to be complete. The moisture in the beans rises by approximately 50%.

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11 FINAL
DRYING
A General Description

Once the cocoa beans ferment they are spread out on wooden planks to be dried by the sun.

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11 FINAL
DRYING

They have to be moved around every so often using a wooden rake. Depending on the weather in each of the areas, drying can take between 3 and 5 days. The inner moisture of the beans has to be of 8%.

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11 FINAL
DRYING

Finally, the cocoa beans are packed into sacks, which are transported to the production plant to be made into Fino de Aroma chocolate.

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