Published November 28, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Improving Access to Information on Cocoa Planting Material to Benefit Farmers: An Introduction to the Updated International Cocoa Germplasm Database

  • 1. School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, RG6 6EU, UKemail:
  • 2. Cocoa Research Association,


Getting the right planting materials to farmers, now and in the future, is a key component of sustainable cocoa production. The International Cocoa Germplasm Database (ICGD) is the primary source of information on the characteristics, origin and location of cocoa clones worldwide and has long been a tool for breeders to identify and locate new genetic resources for breeding improved, resilient cocoa plants. However, the inclusion of 'Recommended Planting Materials' for different regions, as defined by national cocoa organisations, means that ICGD can help the decision-making of cocoa farmers and organisations involved in growing cocoa.

This paper explores the new features available to users of ICGD and illustrates how to best access the wealth of information that the database contains. It explains how searches for multiple traits can be easily combined to form complex queries, describes how the search results are presented in a way that reflects the search inputs, and demonstrates how additional information can be accessed.

ICGD is made available free of charge via the website '', which has been redesigned to allow improved access via mobile devices and better integration with the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre at Reading (ICQC,R) to allow quick access to up-to-date information on the clones available for distribution.

Search options have been updated to be more dynamic (based on available data) and expanded to incorporate new data recently added to ICGD, including recommended planting material, details on available genomic data, and climate change-related physiological traits. Improved access to genetic fingerprints, including reference genotypes, helps breeders and researchers confirm the identity of the plants they are using. Clone lists generated by any search (including group names, such as 'ICS') can be submitted to further searches (e.g. locations holding the clones).

All information in ICGD is referenced to its original source and has been obtained from a wide range of publications, proceedings and reports, as well as directly from individuals in research institutions and genebanks.

With information on around twelve thousand cocoa clones, including yield components, quality attributes and disease reactions, ICGD aims to support the continuing conservation and breeding efforts required to maintain sustainable cocoa production in the face of increasing pressures from pests and diseases, current low yields, and the uncertainties posed by global climate change.

Keywords: information, data, resource, conservation, breeding


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