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Expertise in Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) of cocoa:

CABI Commodities draws on the expertise and worldwide experience of the staff of CABI Bioscience. CABI Bioscience staff from all disciplines of crop protection work together to develop integrated control solutions for cocoa crop protection:

  • Staff have over 90 person years of experience of research on cocoa (Theobroma cacao) espcially in the fields of crop protection, research and extension. Staff expertise ranges from biological control methods in the laboratory and field to molecular biology, from host resistance to expertise in the improvement of application and formulation of biopesticides against cocoa pests and pathogens. In addition, we have staff with considerable experience of farmer training methods.
  • Over the past 15 years, CABI Bioscience has carried out consultancies or collaborative research projects on cocoa pest and disease management in Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala.
  • CABI Bioscience has specialised for a number of years in researching natural biological control solutions to cocoa pest and disease problems from its bases in Africa, Central and Latin America and Asia. It has considerable experience in:

    • "Classical" biological control of cocoa pests
    • Augmentative control of Black Pod, Frosty Pod and Witches' Broom
    • The use of fungal bio-pesticides for cocoa pest control
    • The conservation and mass production of antagonists to cocoa pathogens
    • The epidemiology of cocoa diseases
    • The integration of control options into integrated control systems suitable for both smallholders and plantations
    • Optimisation of the application and formulation of bio-pesticides

In addition, to biological control, CABI scientists have considerable experience in and of the application of chemical pesticides and of the development of rapid screening tests for resistance, that are vital for breeding programmes as well the study of resistance mechanisms in cocoa.

Characterisation of the pathogen population using a range of techniques from morphological to molecular methods is also routinely undertaken by CABI scientists in order to identify an unknown pathogen and give advice on control. Molecular identification can allow tracking of isolates and hence, information on the spread of the disease. Understanding the underlying variation in the pathogen population is essential for the selection of isolates for screening tests in breeding programmes.

CABI staff work principally in collaboration with national programme research and extension staff in developing countries, and have a long history of training and capacity building, designing IPM systems for cocoa and extending them to farmers.

In Ghana, CABI scientists, in collaboration with the National IPM Programme, CRIG, local NGOs and the Ministry of Agriculture, are developing novel approaches to implementing cocoa IPM at farm level through the use of experience-learning programmes for farmers. This "Farmers Field School" approach to IPM implementation has been adapted from the very successful model of IPM schemes in rice in Asia which develops IPM skills and decision-making in farmers. Preliminary assessment of the use of this system in cocoa in Ghana is very encouraging, and experience learning curricula are now being developed and implemented. Other collaborative projects using this approach are also under development in Brazil. Other work, with farmers in Ecuador studied mixed cocoa cropping systems, where farmers manage a variety of trees amongst their cocoa plantings. These trees provide leaf litter for improving soil structure and fertility, while the root structures and canopies help to regulate water within the cocoa gardens; shade was the least important reason for having these trees.

In addition, CABI staff has carried out consultancies for private cocoa producers and growers' co-operatives.

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Contact CABI Commodities:
CABI Commodities Coffee Co-ordinator - Dr. Peter Baker - p.baker@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Cocoa Co-ordinator - Dr. J. Flood - j.flood@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Project Administrator - cabi-commodities@cabi.org