Cocoa productivity in Côte d’Ivoire has been on a downward trend for the last decades due to many factors key among them being the non-availability of quality planting materials. However, some elite clones developed in the country are available and need to be adopted by farmers. This study was conducted in Soubré, Côte d’Ivoire to evaluate the grafting techniques (top grafting and budding) success of 10 elite cocoa clones and their effects on selected growth parameters in the nursery and field. Experimental design was a split plot with grafting technique as main factor and clones as subplot treatment replicated three times. Data were collected on shoot emergence 1 to 5 weeks after grafting (WAG) and grafting success at 10 WAG. Our results showed shoot emergence from top grafting but not on budding 1 WAG. In addition, the number of leaves was high in top grafting (11) compared to budding (5); the same trend was observed in the field. There were no significant differences between both techniques for the grafting success; meanwhile success was 77% and 68% for top grafting and budding, respectively. However, there was better vegetative growth on seedlings grafted using top grafting than budding and this technique seems to be the best to graft cocoa in the nursery.
Key words: Cocoa, top grafting, budding.
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