Did you know that routine pruning is the most important thing that a cocoa farmer can do to control pests and diseases that affect our beloved cocoa trees?
It is estimated that, in Indonesia, 40% of the potential crop each year is lost due to Cocoa Pod Borer attack lone. Cocoa Pod Borer is a moth that that lays its eggs on the surface of cocoa pods. When the Cocoa Pod Borer larvae hatch, they bore their way into the pod and eat the precious fruit, destroying the placenta and causing massive damage to the cocoa seeds.
Cocoa Pod Borer likes to live under the leaves of the cocoa tree where it is cooler and shaded. By pruning to increase light penetration the farmer can make the habitat less attractive to the moth and significantly reduce its impact on his livelihood. Good soil maintenance, fertilizing and frequent harvesting are also important control factors.
VSD, Vascular Streak Dieback, is a nasty fungus that attacks the circulatory system on the cocoa tree and can result in the death of the tree. Pruning is also an essential activity to control the impact of this disease by removing infected branches and reducing the overlap of the canopy of adjacent trees.
Community Solutions International encourages farmers to prune and buys the pruning waste to make Cocoa Paper.
To read more about the Future of Cocoa, there is an interesting article written By Harold Schmitz and Howard-Yana Shapiro, two world renowned scientists and friends of Cocoa Paper.
To read more on the future of cocoa- click here.