Cocoa at the Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most prestigious and impressive flower shows in the world, and was visited by the Queen and President Obama during his visit to London. This year the University of Reading put on a display highlighting their cocoa research (part supported by Mars), into physiology, breeding, climate change, and pest and disease management. The University manages the only cocoa quarantine facility in the world, allowing the safe movement of cocoa plants from country to country without spreading dangerous cocoa pests and diseases.

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Part of the Universit of Reading cocoa exhibit

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D. Michelle End (Cocoa Research Association), and Professor Paul Hadley (Curator of the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre)

Heres some more information from the University:

 

The University of Reading won a gold medal today at the Chelsea Flower Show for its exhibition on the crucial cocoa research undertaken by the School of Biological Sciences.

The stand, Your Chocolate World Secured, took top honours in the Continuous Learning Awards.

Reading is home to the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre (ICQC), which handles all international movement of cocoa breeding material and is the only facility of its kind in the world.

The ICQC is playing a pivotal role in stopping the spread of pests and disease on cocoa, whilst ensuring that research centres and cocoa plantations worldwide have access to new and interesting types of cocoa.

Andrew Daymond, University Research Fellow and co-ordinator of the ICQC, said: “We are thrilled to have won gold this year. Our exhibit explains all about the problems and challenges cocoa growers face, the work we do at Reading to ensure that different types of cocoa are transferred between regions in a safe manner and research into how the crop responds to changing environmental conditions.”

The School of Biological Sciences has a five-year project to assess the threat climate change poses to cocoa. Cocoa production faces significant problems from increasing global temperatures and more varied rainfall. Using state-of-the-art greenhouses that simulate current and predicted climate conditions in cocoa-growing regions, Reading researchers aim to identify traits that crop breeders can select for when developing new cocoa varieties better suited to likely future climates.

Cocoa is one of the most important sources of income for many countries in the humid tropics. Together, Ghana and The Ivory Coast produce nearly 70% of the world’s supply. For Ghana, where cocoa is grown by smallholder farmers, cocoa accounts for over 40% of total export revenues and two million people are involved either directly or indirectly in its production.

 

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