THE rehabilitation and integrated pest disease management (RIPDM) programme applied at the Erima Cocoa trial plot outside Madang province, proves successful, according to Ramu NiCo’s community affair’s (CA) agriculture department.
Aldam Bade, agriculture supervisor, and Daniel Abuta, agriculture officer with CA, said the cocoa trial plot was previously affected by plant diseases but the RIPDM programme adopted revoked the 625 cocoa trees in the one hector trial field.
Owned by a local John Ura, the field management was taken over by Ramu NiCo’s CA agriculture department Jan 11, this year with the aim of applying RIPDM programme to see if it will improve tree health and eventual fruit production.
The programme is fitted into the cocoa natural production cycle.
If the programme is successful, then the concept would be applied to other Ramu NiCo landowner cocoa fields.
Mr Bade said before the programme, the one hector field fetched 60kg wet bean per harvest but after the programme in January the harvest improved to 120kg wet bean per harvest in March.
He predicted that from May to August during the mid-peak harvest period, the harvest would triple with further harvest improvement in the main peak period from September to December.
The RIPDM programme in January covered wet control, shade control and pruning. In February, the cocoa tress were treated with fungicide (ridomil, copper nordox and nuvan) to control VST (vascular streak and die-back). In March urea (nitrogen fertilizer) was applied to improve tree health and promote new leaves and flowers. This month, NPK (nitrogen phosphorus potassium) is applied to build the leaves, improve better root forming and improve fruits.
He said the trial plot had seen a lot of improvements and the RIPDM programme would be extended to Maigari, Coastal Pipeline and Basamuk to encourage local cocoa farming as part of Ramu NiCo’s food security programme.