The "apple of his eye" for Wilber Escobar are his 700 cocoa plants from "a fine and aromatic cocoa strain" that he grows on the Santa Emilia farm in Ahuachapán, El Salvador.
"I have struggled to obtain one of the best breeding criollo cocoa, which is not so easy to grow with 30% of variability. Its vegetative material or ´vareta´ is called JSCM or José Santos Cáceres Martínez - usually the one who discovers it names it - discovered in Tecapán in the East of El Salvador and was developed by the National Centre of Agricultural Technology (CENTA)", says the cocoa producer.
He is using dynamic successional agroforestry systems, that prioritise the conservation of natural resources (water, soil, biological diversity) and at the same time, increase productivity in terms of both volume and quality, for the benefit of the economy and cocoa farming families.
Escobar expects to produce about 75 cocoa pods per tree, which is five times more than for a traditional cocoa tree, which yields about 15 pods on average.
"We have no oil, or gold mines, but we do have fine and aromatic cocoa, of excellent international quality, which has great potential in the national and international market. Yet, it is not developing as quickly and as much as we would like," he added.