Cacao was introduced in Bahia in 1756, becoming later the largest producer state in the country. In order to support the planting of cacao in the region, a breeding program was established by CEPEC at the beginning of the 1970s. For a long time, the program consisted in testing new hybrids (full-sibs) and releasing a mixture of the best ones to farmers. Lately, particularly after the witches´ broom arrival in the region, in 1989, recurrent breeding strategies were implemented, aiming mainly the development of clones. From 1993 to 2010, more than 500 progenies, accumulating 30 thousand trees, were developed by crossing many parents with resistance to witches´ broom, high yield and other traits. In this period, more than 500 clones were put in trials and 39 clones and 3 hybrids were released to farmers. In this paper the strategies and results achieved by the program are reviewed. Overall the program has good interface with pathology and genomic programs.
Theobroma cacao; breeding strategies; selection methods