Cacao ( Theobroma cacao
L.) represents one of the most important agricultural crops of the humid Mexican tropics. In the last 10 yr, approximately 23.000 t of this grain were no longer produced per cycle. The objective of this study was to identify characteristics and factors that restrict production in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas. A survey was applied to obtain information about 184 producers and their plantations by two-stage sampling. Descriptive statistics were calculated and multilevel models were adjusted to analyze the information. Results show that there are differences (P
< 0.05) in cacao yield between municipalities (380 kg ha-1
is the estimated residual for each municipality). Crop productivity levels are higher in the state of Tabasco than in Chiapas (644 and 344 kg ha-1
, respectively). Incidence of frosty pod rot of cacoa, also known as moniliasis, induced by Moniliophthora roreri
[(Cif) H.C. Evans, Stalpers, Samson & Benny 1978] is significantly greater (P
< 0.05) in the state of Chiapas (60%) than in Tabasco (48%).Producers who carry out more crop management practices increase yields and decrease the pathogen’s impact on their plantations. Results suggest the need to apply differentiated public policies to promote production within each region or municipality.