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Maya Mountain Cacao Ltd. launches Project to certify selected Cacao Trees as Heirloom

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2018. 10:04 am CST.

BBN Staff: On Monday, June 11, the Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) group, in partnership with the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Program (HCP) and the United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA), launched the first follow-on efforts of an heirloom cacao designation that was first established through MMC in 2014.

This marks the first effort to research, preserve and propagate the genetics in the HCP designated trees in Belize.

The Heirloom trees will be scientifically selected for productivity metrics carefully measured under the guidance of cacao specialist and agronomist, Dan O’Doherty, of Cacao Services, Inc.

When the project is completed, Maya Mountain Cacao Ltd. will establish and manage a certified Heirloom Cacao grafted clonal garden.

The garden will be composed of bud-wood, most productive (highest yield) certified heirloom bud-wood widely available to farmers to further propagate the heirloom clones.

In 2014, MMC farmers earned HCP designation for a set of farms in the villages of San Antonio, Santa Elena, and Pueblo Viejo, in the Toledo district.

The trees and farms in this designation were carefully selected and submitted by O’Doherty.


The Belize HCP Cacao Preservation Project was born out of a high demand for Belize’s unique, fine flavored bean, paired with a desire to preserve heirloom cacao varieties for the future of specialty chocolate production.


Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) is a specialty cacao sourcing company that works across the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo Districts.


MMC purchases fresh cacao, ferments and dries the cacao, and exports to a variety of specialty chocolate makers in the U.S. and Europe.

Minehaha Forman, Managing Director of Maya Mountain Cacao, Ltd., said that MMC is proud to work in partnership to help Belize farmers propagate the most productive heirloom varieties to preserve Belize’s local cacao known around the globe for it’s fine, unique flavor.


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