841 acres of cocoa in St Mary treated for Frosty Pod Rot

841 acres of cocoa in St Mary treated for Frosty Pod Rot

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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ST MARY, Jamaica —Approximately 841 acres of cocoa in St Mary have been treated under the Frosty Pod Rot Management Programme.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that 288 farmers in the parish have benefited under the initiative.

St Mary produces the most cocoa in the island.

The Frosty Pod Rot Management Programme is part of government efforts to revive the cocoa industry and help affected farmers recover from the losses caused by frosty pod rot.

Shaw, who was addressing the launch of the International Year of Plant Health at Hope Gardens yesterday, said that the programme has been reaping positive results.

“There has been an increase in production yields in areas where the management programme has been implemented,” he said.

The frosty pod disease, which has been plaguing cocoa farmers in recent years, is caused by a fungus, Moniliophthora roreri, which produces billions of spores that are easily spread by wind, water, or humans and can cause serious damage to the cocoa industry, reducing crop yield by up to 80 per cent per year.

In January 2018, the Government allocated $200 million to tackle the disease, with focus placed on cultural control, chemical control, public awareness, research and development, surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation.

Jamaica's cocoa is one of eight recognised by the International Cocoa Organization with 100 per cent exclusive 'Fine Flavour' status among cocoa-producing countries in the world.

Between 2004 and 2018, Jamaica's cocoa production averaged approximately 368 tonnes annually. However, over the last five years, there has been an annual average of approximately 255 tonnes, the ministry said.

—JIS


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