Situated at the extreme western edge of Africa’s cocoa belt, the country transitions from tropical sub-Saharan Africa to drier desert climates. That, combined with its overall small size, means Sierra Leone grows cacáo only in a limited area.
Early arrivals of cacáo into Sierra Leone present few documented clues but several intriguing sidebars.
Scant historical records show cacáo introductions from Trinidad — some 60 plants in 1902 — described as Ceylon Red (very good), Nicaragua Criollo (not bad), T. pentagona + 1,000 unspecified seeds (ok).
Additionally, material from São Tomé appears — as throughout the mainland of West Africa — perhaps imported by locals who were the principal cultivators down the coastline on Fernando Pó in the 19th century.
Supposedly some old-time cacáo relics still stand on Sherbro Island.
A recent analysis of some 400 samples indicate F1 Hybrids — Amelonado + a smattering of F.J. Pound upper Amazon breeding stock.
As Big Data conquers the globe, more details to follow…