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The cacao tree produces pods filled with seeds (or beans) that are used to make chocolate.
Cacao originated in the Amazon region of South America. Diseases endemic to this area have resulted in West Africa becoming global leader in crop production.
Research projects involve both field and laboratory studies. Projects include investigation of diversity and disease resistance and control.
Scientists cooperate with farmers to discover better varieties and to implement sustainable farming practices.
Crop Diversity is important for cacao.
One of the most harmful pests to coffee crops is the coffee berry borer.
The mission of the Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory is to carry out research on tropical perennial crops of significance to national and global economies with the goals of: improving crop yields with reduced inputs, reducing the impact of crop disease, preserving and optimizing the use of crop genetic diversity and mitigating environmental impacts resulting from crop production, thus providing U.S. consumers and industries with safe and stable supplies of these commodities.