International Cocoa Research Symposium draws 500 attendees to Lima, Peru

IMG 1 Main The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) from 13 – 17 November 2017 brought together the global cocoa research community for its first International Symposium on Cocoa Research (ISCR 2017) in Lima, Peru.

The Symposium, jointly organized with the Government of Peru, had long been awaited, as the last edition of this type of event was held over five years ago and several relevant developments had been recorded in the cocoa sector and required wide dissemination within the scientific research community and beyond it.

The Government of Peru, a country with a rich history and strong tradition of growing fine and flavour cocoa, welcomed all participants with gracious hospitality, creating an environment for fruitful discussions and networking.

The symposium gathered about 500 participants from 37 countries.

The main theme of ISCR 2017 was “Promoting Advances in Research to Enhance the Profitability of Cocoa Farming”. This overall theme and the seven thematic areas formed the main focus of ten keynote presentations, some ninety 90 oral presentations, and 100 poster presentations at the Symposium.

After four days of deliberations, the cocoa research community agreed on a set of key recommendations to accelerate the pace of development in the global cocoa sector, in particular as relevant to cocoa research. Climate change adaptation and mitigation, food safety and cadmium in particular were identified as major growing concerns for the cocoa sector that needed to be addressed urgently.

Generally, the Symposium emphasized the need to have more innovative platforms to better share information on cocoa research, and to make the results of that research easily accessible to all cocoa stakeholders, and particularly to cocoa farmers, who should be the main focus and recipients of these results.

A key innovation that distinguished the Symposium from previous cocoa research conferences was the introduction of a theme on socio-economic and market-related issues, which generated lively discussions with respect to technology adoption and transfer, and allowed the cocoa research community to gain important insights into the socio-economic impact of its research.

The Symposium was officially closed on Thursday 17 November 2017 by His Excellency Mr. Jose Manuel Hernandez, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. The proceedings of the symposium will be published very shortly.

The ICCO Secretariat and the entire cocoa research community are grateful to Mars Chocolate UK Limited and Cocoa Research (UK) for their generous financial support that contributed immensely to the success of the Symposium.

ICCO Executive Director Dr Jean-Marc Anga gave an undertaking that his Organization would ensure that cocoa scientists would never again be deprived of such a global platform to share their knowledge. He confirmed the commitment of the ICCO to organize subsequent editions of the Symposium and stated that the date and venue of the next International Symposium on Cocoa Research would be announced very soon, after consultations with relevant stakeholders and ICCO Member states.

Pictured top: ICCO Executive Director Dr Jean-Marc Anga (l) with (l-r) Scientific Committee Chair Dr Brigitte Laliberté, Peruvian Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation HE Mr Jose Manuel Hernandez and Director General of Agriculture Mr Jorge Amaya Castillo; middle: the audience at an oral presentation; bottom: attendees taking in a poster presentation.

Click here to download the Report from the 2017 ISCR Scientific Committee for the 7 Thematic Areas

Click here to download the Proceedings of the 2017 ISCR


Please note that posters slam and posters have been removed from the programme below. Posters received at the symposium from presenters can be found here.

The detailed version of the ISCR 2017 programme can be access via the link below:

To download available presentations, click on the highlighted presenter names below.

Monday November 13, 2017


Opening of the ISCR 2017

•    Welcome speech by SEM. Ricardo V. Luna Mendoza, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru
•    ICCO Executive Director Introductory Speech by Dr. Jean-Marc Anga, Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organization
•    Inauguration by SEM. Juan Manuel Hernandez Calderon, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru
•    “The Peruvian cocoa sector” by Mr. Jorge Amaya Castillo, Director General of Agriculture, Chairman of the local organizing committee and focal point
•    “The oldest cocoa in the world discovered in the Upper Amazon of Peru and Ecuador” Presentation by Dr. Segundo Quirino Olivera Núñez
•    Introduction to the ISCR 2017: Programme and logistics by Ms. Brigitte Laliberte, Chairperson of the ISCR Scientific Committee


Thematic Session 4 – Climate change adaptation and mitigation – CHAIR – Brigitte Laliberte

Keynote presentation
•    Paul Hadley, Overview of advances in cacao and climate change research and future perspectives-University of Reading (UoR), UK

Oral presentations
•    Christian Bunn, Global climate change impacts on cocoa -International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia

•    Fiona Lahive, The impacts of climate change variables on vegetative and reproductive development of six genotypes of cacao-University of Reading (UoR), UK

•    Viviana Medina, Exploring cacao genetic diversity for resilience to climate change – validating or contradicting current predictive models of production suitability – Bioversity International, Costa Rica

Thematic Session 4 – Climate change adaptation and mitigation continued – CHAIR – Verina Ingram

Oral presentations
•    Virupax Baligar, Impact of drought on morphological, physiological and nutrient use efficiency of elite Cacao genotypes from Bahia- Beltaville Agricultural Research Center (USDA, ARS), USA

•    Paula Bermeo Fuquene, Evaluation of current and future water requirements, under climate change scenarios in cocoa crops in Nilo Cundinamarca- Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Dinner offered by the Government of Peru

Tuesday November 14, 2017


Thematic session 1. Genetics and Breeding – CHAIR – Siela Maximova

Keynote presentation
Paula Bermeo Fuquene, The Future of Cacao Research: Systems Science in Support of Cacao Farmers- Penn State University, USA

Oral presentations
•    Brigitte Laliberte, Cacao Genetic Resources – Legal and policy aspects of germplasm exchange (access and benefit sharing) Bioversity International, Italy

•    Wilton Céspedes del Pozo, Evaluation of the genetic diversity of native “Chuncho” cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in La Convención, Cusco- Peru-UNSAAC/UNIQ, Peru

•    Evert Thomas Lima, A genetic origin of fine or flavour cacao in southern Peru?- Bioversity International, Peru

•    Nubia Martinez Guerrero, Morpho-agronomic and molecular characterisation of the cocoa collection held by the Colombia National Federation of Cocoa Farmers-Federación Nacional de Cacaoteros (FEDECACAO), Colombia

Thematic session 1. Genetics and Breeding – CHAIR – Elizabeth Johnson    

Oral presentations
•    Rey Loor Solorzano, Development of specific niches for high-yield and high-sensory-quality cocoa: Ecuador’s experience – Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP), Ecuador

•    Allan Mata Quiros, Revealing the genetic structure and kinship of cocoa clonal series UF, CC, ARF and PMCT kept in the CATIE international collection (IC3)- CATIE, Costa Rica

•    Adriana Gallego, Integrating the transcriptomics for study of antioxidants in cacao cell cultures- Universidad de Antioquia, Peru

•    Lambert Motilal, Candidate SSR tags for fruit and seed traits of Theobroma cacao L. in the International Cocoa Genebank Trinidad-The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago

•    Christopher Turnbull, Digital Data Capture in Cocoa Breeding: A Practical Barcode-based System-, University of Reading (UoR), UK

Thematic session 1. Genetics and Breeding – CHAIR – Paul Hadley

Keynote presentation
Claire Lanaud, Exploration of the T. cacao genome sequence to decipher the incompatibility system of Theobroma cacao and to identify diagnostic markers, Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France

Oral presentations
•    Olivier Sounigo, Comparative assessment of agronomical performances of six commercial cocoa varieties in on farm progeny trials in Cameroon- Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France
•    Tahi Mathias, Second cycle of recurrent selection of cocoa (theobroma cacao l.) in Côte d’Ivoire: genetic parameters in two constitutive groups after thirteen years of observation- Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA), Côte d’ Ivoire
•    Fabienne Ribeyre, The Genomic Selection of Theobroma cacao: A new strategy of marker assisted selection to improve breeding efficiency and predict useful traits in new populations- Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France
•    Francis Padi, Potential of recurrent selection for developing improved cocoa varieties in Ghana- Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Ghana
•    Rene Rafael Espino, DNA Profiling of Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) Varieties in the Philippines Using Microsatellite Markers, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines


Thematic session 7 – Marketing and Technology Transfer – CHAIR – David Guest

Oral presentations
•   Verina Ingram, Impacts of cocoa sustainability initiatives in West Africa, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

•    Anna Laven, Demystifying the cocoa sector- Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), The Netherlands

•    Olusodji Odowole, Constraints to Youth Involvement in Cocoa Production in Nigeria- Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Nigeria

•    Noemie Schaad, Analysis of the Sustainable Cocoa Production Program (SCPP) and its impact on farm-level quality and productivity in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia- Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

Thematic session 7 – Marketing and Technology Transfer – CHAIR – Verina Ingram

Keynote presentation
•    Frederick Amon-Armah, From labour demand to business prospects for rural youth: A study in the Fanteakwa district of Ghana- Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Ghana

Oral presentations
•    David Lujan Tantarico, Analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of obtaining frozen cocoa pulp using a semi-automatic collection system: Case study “Cooperativa Agroindustrial Y De Servicios”- Centro Innovación Del Cacao (CIC), Peru

  • •    Diana Kos, Impact evaluation of different savings accounts on income smoothing and access to credit: the case of cocoa farmers in Ghana- Wageningen University, The Netherlands

•    Diany Hartatri, Direct partnership on cocoa processing in Papua Island, Indonesia For improving farmers access to Japan market-Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI), Indonesia

•    Trent Blare, Intensification of cocoa in the Peruvian Amazon: Gender relations and options for deeper engagement by women- World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Peru

Thematic session 7 – Marketing and Technology Transfer – CHAIR – Soetanto Abdoellah

•    David Guest, Labour as a constraint to technology adoption: Understanding the role of farmer health- The University of Sydney, Australia

•    Eric Boa, Helping cocoa farmers to help themselves: an overview of extension methods and how to choose the best ones- Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, UK

•    Monika Schneider, Knowledge gap, small farms and insecure land tenure limit the adoption of research-based recommendations for cocoa swollen shoot virus disease control- Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Department of International Cooperation, Switzerland

•    Path Umaharan, Supporting Entrepreneurship and Development within the Fine/Flavour Sector using Science Technology and Innovation: the Case of the International Fine Cocoa Innovation Centre Cocoa Research Centre- The University of the West Indies (CRC-UWI), Trinidad and Tobacco

•    Amanda Berlan, What works? A review of the contribution academic knowledge can make to building a stronger and more resilient cocoa economy- Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University, UK


Thematic 2-Agronomy – CHAIR – Christian Cilas

Keynote presentation
•    Philippe Bastide, Agronomic Challenges for productive and sustainable cocoa production: taking stock and perspectives- Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France

Oral presentations
•    Edna Ivonne Leiva, Water dynamics in cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in tropical rainforests, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

•    Eduado Guitierrez Brito, Pruning in the production of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.)-Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Wednesday November 15, 2017


Thematic 3 – Pests and Diseases – CHAIR – Wilbert Phillips-Mora

Keynote presentation
•    Julie Flood, A review on the effect of climate change on cacao pests and diseases- CABI, UK

Oral presentations
•    Mark Guiltinan, Application of CRISPER/CAS9  Mediated Genome Editing to Enhancement of Disease Resistance in Cacao – The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), USA

•    Desire Pokou Phytophthora megakarya Stress response changes in the Theobroma cacao transcriptomes analyzed using RNAseq- Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA). Côte d’ Ivoire

•    Mireille Ndoungue Djeumekop, Combining field epidemiological and genetic diversity information to understand Phytophthora megakarya dispersion in young cocoa plantations in Cameroon, Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement (IRAD)& Universite de SupAgro Montpellier, Cameron& France

Thematic 3 – Pests and Diseases – CHAIR – David Guest

Oral presentations
    •    Monika Schneider, Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease: how can it be prevented, and do shade trees mitigate the severity and help maintaining productivity? – Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Department of International Cooperationl, Switzerland

•    Emmanuelle Muller, A Next Generation Sequencing approach to elucidate CSSV species profiles- Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France

•    Henry Kwame Dzahini-Obiatey, Pest and Pathogen Project CF/ICCO/43 – the Journey so far: Achievements, Constraints and the Outlook for the Future-Cocoa Research Institute Of Ghana (CRIG), Ghana

Thematic 3 – Pests and Diseases – CHAIR – David Guest

Oral presentations
•    Wilbert Phillips-Mora, Generation of cacao clones with durable resistant against frosty pod rot (Moniliophthora roreri) -CATIE, Costa Rica

•    Rolando Ríos-Ruiz, Sanitisation as a key strategy in the integrated management of cocoa diseases in Peru: Three and a half decades of epidemiological and control-efficacy research. Facultad de Agronomía. Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva (UNAS), Peru

•    Yeirme Jaimes Suarez, Population structure and spatiotemporal dynamics of Moniliophthora roreri in different environments in Colombia -Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria – CORPOICA, Colombia

•    Mariela Leandro-Munoz, Effects of microclimatic variables on the onset of symptoms and signs of Moniliophthora roreri for three cacao clones in a range of incomplete resistance – CATIE, Costa Rica

•    Oscar Cabezas Huayllas, Phytosanitary Status In Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao L.) Production In The Huánuco Region Of Peru- Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva, Peru

•     Pierre N’Guessan, The Achaea catocaloides Guenee caterpillar (Lepidoptera, Erebidae): a new threat to cocoa farming in Côte d’Ivoire-Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA), Côte d’Ivoire

•    Richard Adu-Acheampong, Habitat Adaptation and Population of Nymphal and Adult Stages of Two Cocoa Mirid Species (Distantiella theobroma [Dist.] and Sahlbergella singularis Hagl.)-Cocoa Research Institute Of Ghana (CRIG), Ghana


Thematic 5-Quality and Flavour Assessment – CHAIR – Martin Gilmour

Keynote presentation
•    Darin Sukha, Elements of a harmonized international standard for cocoa flavour assessment and evidence of
Evidence for applying the concept of “Terroir” in cocoa flavour and quality attributes –The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago

Oral presentations
•    Julia Baumgartner and David Contreras, Creating inclusive practical systems for the sensory analysis of cocoa- Equal Exchange, USA

•    Carla Martin, Cocoa quality evaluation: lessons from social science and producer-centric approaches- Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) Harvard University, UK

•    Christina Rohsius, Participatory approaches conducted in Ecuador, Trinidad and Costa Rica using simple and cost-effective methods to enhance the cocoa bean quality substantially- Rausch GmbH, Germany

•    Zoé Deuscher, Does aroma composition allow to discriminate groups of dark chocolates categorized on the basis of their organoleptic properties? Inputs of direct-injection mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) and GC-Olfac – CIRAD-UMR 95 QUALISUD et Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l’Alimentation (CSGA), France

•    Ines Drouault, The Cocoa of Excellence Programme: celebrating high quality cocoa production and diversity of flavours around the world – key lessons learnt from 5 Editions since its launch in 2008- Bioversity International, Italy

Thematic 5-Quality and Flavour Assessment – CHAIR – Path Umaharan

Oral presentations
•    Elsa Hegmann, New Resistant Cocoa Selections From Costa Rica Have Fine Aroma Potential- Rausch Gmbh, Germany

•    Noémie Fayeulle, Two Molecules Newly Identified By Mass Spectrometry In Fermented Cocoa Beans Have A Strong Impact On Chocolate Sensory Quality. Plateforme Polyphénols, UMR SPO, INRA, France

•    Renaud Boulanger, Classification Of Chocolates Based On Their Global Fluorescent Imprint? – Centre De Coopération International En Recherche Agronomique Pour Le Développement (CIRAD), France

Thematic 5-Quality and Flavour Assessment – CHAIR – Michelle End

Oral presentations
•    Joël Allainguillaume, The use of chloroplast markers for the traceability of certified sustainably produced cacao (Theobroma cacao) in the chocolate industry-University of the West of England (UWE), United Kingdom

•    Juzhong Tan, Sensing Fermentation Degree of Cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) beans by Machine Learning and Traditional Classification Models based Electronic Nose System-University of Georgia, USA

•    Naailah Ali, Profiling Fermentation Progression and Quality Attributes of Trinitario and Refractario Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) Hybrid Populations at the International Cocoa Genebank Trinidad (ICGT) – Opportunities Cocoa Research Centre (CRC), The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago

•    Wiebke Niether, Physiological response in beans of three cacao cultivars to micro-environmental growing conditions in cacao agroforestry systems and monocultures under conventional and organic management-University of Goettingen, Germany


Thematic 2-Agronomy – CHAIR – Franklin Manu Amoah

Keynote presentation
•    Wiebke Niether, Tree management in monocultures and agroforestry systems affect microclimatic growing conditions and fine-root growth – University of Gottingen, Germany

Oral presentations
•    Andrew Daymond, Mapping Cocoa Productivity in Ghana, Indonesia and Côte d’Ivoire- University of Reading, UK

•    Siela Maximova, Regulating transcription factors to alleviate plant tissue and genotype limitations of cacao somatic embryogenesis-Penn State University, USA

•    Ramiro Ramirez Pisco, Constructing the mupv1 cocoa nutrition model -Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

•    Henry Cordoba Novoa, Characterization of microbial community isolated from cocoa crop soils in a producer region in Colombia, as a contribution to soil fertility management- Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Thematic 2- Agronomy – CHAIR – Elizabeth Johnson

Oral presentations
•    Monika Schneider, Comparing productivity and profitability of agroforests and monocultures in Bolivia- Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Switzerland

•    Enrique Arévalo-Gardini, Influence of Agroforestry Systems with Cacao on Soil Properties (Physical, Chemical and Microbiological) and Selection of cocoa genotypes tolerant to acid soils in Peruvian Amazon- Instituto de Cultivos Tropicales – (ICT), Peru

•    Olivier Deheuvels, How habitat heterogeneity affects pollinator’s communities in cocoa-based agroforestry systems? Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), France

Thursday November 16, 2017

Thematic Session 6 – Contaminants and food safety with focus on Cadmium – CHAIR – Carlos Leyva

Keynote presentation
•    Gideon Ramtahal, Mitigation of cadmium bioaccumulation in cacao through soil remediation- The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Oral presentations
•    Monika Schneider, Effect of agroforestry and monoculture systems on cadmium availability and uptake Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

•    Caleb Lewis, The genetic variation of cadmium (Cd) uptake and bioaccumulation in Theobroma cacao L.- University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago

•    Jayne Crozier, “Cocoasafe”: Capacity Building And Knowledge Sharing In Sps In Cocoa In South East Asia And The Pasific- CABI, United Kingdom

•    Reinhard Matissek, Mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH/MOAH) in cocoa and cocoa products and possible minimization strategies- Food Chemistry Institute (LCI) of the Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), Germany

•    Jeimmy Caceres Zambrano, Characterization of culturable cadmium-tolerant microorganisms found in cocoa-growing soils in Cundinamarca, Colombia – Universidad Nacional De Colombia, Colombia

•    Reports from each of the 7 Thematic Area sessions

•    Discussions and comments from participants
•    Conclusion of the Symposium
•    Recommendations from the ISCR 2017
•    Discussions and comments from participants
•    Proposal for the next ISCR
•    Closure

Friday November 17, 2017



•    Organized visits in Lima

Saturday November 16, 2017

Options of field trips of 2 days and 3 days