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Thursday 13 August, 2020

UWI engineers develop new cocoa equipment

Engineers at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine are seeking to modernise the cocoa industry with the development of affordable equipment for cocoa producers.

The equipment, which was displayed at a showcase on August 15 by the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, showed nine equipment prototypes and models developed by staff of the department for the affordable harvesting, fermenting, pre-processing, processing and finishing of cocoa and cocoa products.  

UWI Cocoa Exhibit

A total of 13 prototypes and models were developed under the 2016 Regionally Relevant Cocoa Equipment Project (RRCEP), funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) through the Ministry of Education.

The “Engineering Innovations for the Cocoa Industry” symposium and exhibition centred on field research, mechanical design, machine development, fabrication and preliminary testing of prototypes.

"T&T has had a long history with cocoa, stretching back centuries to the rise of cocoa farming locally in 1738. Among the reasons cited for the decline in local cocoa production is the significant cost of establishing production facilities such as chocolate factories."

The UWI said the project also inspired a new generation of mechanical, industrial and agricultural engineers to develop machinery for the cocoa industry, with 20 additional machines being developed by students.

"These exist as proof that the equipment of the cocoa industry can be developed using local expertise," the UWI said. 

For more information on this project, the models and prototypes, please contact Dr. Renique Murray, Project Coordinator at 662-2002 ext. 83173 or renique.murray@sta.uwi.edu 

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