Author Archives: Juan Carlos Motamayor

Juan Carlos Motamayor

Dr. Motamayor is a Tropical Agronomist originally from Venezuela. Dr. Motamayor obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Paris XI and has worked for 20 years in cacao genetics and agronomy. Dr. Motamayor is the leader of an international cacao genetics and genomics program, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Motamayor in his role of Global Program Manager also leads the agronomic scientific research at MARS, Incorporated. Dr. Motamayor has published dozens of scientific papers and his research has led to new approaches for cacao germplasm management and breeding. Dr. Motamayor has also worked with governments from many countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, NGOs and private companies to improve the livelihood of cacao farmers through the development and implementation of sustainable agricultural systems.

African Cocoa Breeders Working Group (ACBWG) meets in Reading UK in October

ACBWG

With support from MARS, Inc. and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), the African Cocoa Breeders Working Group (ACBWG) met in Reading, U.K. from October 14-18 to discuss progress made by regional projects originally launched through this collaborative network.

Breeders from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo met with scientists from the University of Reading, the International Center for Agricultural Research and Development (CIRAD),

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Genetic Markers Identified Along the Cocoa Genome

Ecuador- Brasil Jan 2012 059

When we – along with our partners from the US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service, Indiana University, Hudson-Alpha Institute and IBM – mapped the cocoa genome in 2010, we knew that was the first step to using cocoa science research to create higher producing cocoa plants that did not sacrifice quality or flavor.  Mars has always had an interest in the scientific

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Cocoa Breeding to Enhance Production and Combat Disease in Ecuador

Juan Carlos Motamayor showing a high number of pods on a 1.5 year old tree from the newly developed cocoa varieties

Ecuador has a unique, rich 400-year history of cocoa farming, and great strides are currently underway to enhance production and combat diseases in this country that together with Peru, features the most diverse cocoa genetic diversity in the world.

Mars Chocolate, in partnership with the INIAP – the national research institute of Ecuador – is investing in an innovative cocoa breeding program that will

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Putting the Cocoa Genome to Work

Cocoa

We announced our intention to map the cocoa genome in 2008 and were very excited to finish the project almost 3 years ahead of schedule.  We received many positive reactions, and hundreds of researchers have now downloaded our open-sourced genome dataset from www.cacaogenomedb.org.  The genome is now public property, and we have registered it so that no part of the sequence

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Partnership to Save Cocoa and Help Farmers

Cocoa-Pods-and-Cocoa-Beans

Back in 2008, Mars announced plans to “unlock” the cacao genome to better understand the plant, improve its quality, and bolster its production. Mars and its partners – USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and IBM – said it wouldn’t be done until 2012. Well, three years early, help is on the way for 6.5 million cocoa farmers and the 40-50 million people who rely

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