Strategies for the control of pests and diseases for sustainable cocoa production in Nigeria

TCN Ndubuaku, EU Asogwa


Pests and diseases have largely contributed to the declining productivity of cocoa in Nigeria.  About 25 – 30% loss in yield of cocoa has been attribute to the cocoa mired, Sahlbergella singularis.  17% is lost through the feeding of the cocoa pod borer Characoma strictigrapta while losses attributable to the major disease of cocoa (the black pod disease caused by Phytophtora megakarya) range from 30 – 90% in Nigeria.  The estimated farm holdings of peasant farmers account for 90% of the 700,000 hectares of land under cocoa cultivation.  Many of these farms are poorly maintained, neglected or completely abandoned and with scattered stands.  This has drastically reduced the effective hectarage of cocoa in Nigeria to 300,000 – 500,000 hectares thereby bringing down the potential yield realizable from the use of available improved technologies from 1,500kg – 3,000kg dried beans per hectare to the current average yield is 500kg/ha, which is far below the genetic potentials of the crop.  This paper articulates the various concerted research efforts which could be harnessed to integrated management of the important pests and diseases of cocoa in Nigeria.  The vigorous extension of these technologies to the farmers lays the key to the problem of sustainable cocoa production in Nigeria.

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