Variability of survival and yield traits in cacao (<i>Theobroma cacao</i> L.) clones under marginal field conditions in Ghana

<p>Increasing the genetic base of current parental cacao varieties grown in West Africa with clones that are able to perform well under marginal conditions could improve cacao production. Survival and yield of 30 different cocoa clones of more recent introductions were compared with five parental clones of improved cocoa varieties under natural field conditions in Ghana. A randomized complete-block design with five replications was used to evaluate the 35 clones for the following traits: percentage survival, increase in trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), canopy spread, bean mass and bean yield. Significant (<i>p</i> < 0.05) clone effects for all traits and broad-sense heritability range of 0.16–0.51 were observed. Bean mass and bean yield varied from 0.90 to 1.44 g and 149 to 467 kg/ha, respectively. Bean yield and TCSA was positively and moderately correlated (r = 0.46; <i>p</i> < 0.01). Clones A 1/197, ICS 70 and MO 20 outperformed the best control clone for both survival and yield, which could be used in cacao breeding to improve production under marginal conditions in Ghana.</p>