Cocoa pod borer not given enough attention

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday March 7th, 2014

 I BELIEVE that the senior management Cocoa Industry is not interested in taking care of urgent issues at hand. 

Articles such as  an MP heaping praise on East New Britain and the CEO of the Cocoa Board sponsoring a group in Rugby League in Kokopo in January suggested that the management of the industry is not concerned with the eradication and management of the cocoa pod borer.

I suggest that the government funds allocated to the board and  industry be expended on developing short, medium and long strategies for management of the pest.

Cocoa pod borer is an entomological problem, where an insect that bores holes into the cocoa pod at the formative growth stage of the beans and whole pod turns black and cannot produce the required quality beans.

   The cocoa pod borer pest had reduced the cocoa production to 80% in ENB and spread to the coastal provinces that were investing in the industry.

   Cocoa industry is important to the country because the flavour for chocolate we produce is in demand in the world market.

A study should be carried out on the biology of the insect and the environment attributes.

There are competent entomologists in the cocoa industry who can design the management strategies and publish the information and distribute in simple English and Pidgin with diagrams for public consumption. 

Propagation and distribution of tolerant clones is only a short term mechanical mechanism. The insect can change its eating habit through mutation and the problems will appear again and that will have an adverse impact on the industry. 

If the cocoa pod borer problem is left to the politicians they would propose short term solutions such as the destruction of cocoa trees in the gardens.

Even after the destruction of old cocoa trees, the insects could return and attack the pods of the new plantings.

We should identify the problem and attack the cause factors and not symptoms.

I am proposing that the role of a politician is to establish policies and production targets for the cocoa industry. The procedures and process to adapt in achieving targets is the responsibility of the scientists and management of the cocoa industry.



Joseph S. Wohuinangu

Senior Agriculturist