Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Research by DLSU to Fight Cacao Pests


The Philippines has the optimum soil conditions and climate to cultivate cacao. The country exports and imports cacao and cacao products which includes chocolate confectionery containing cocoa in various forms and sizes, other food preparations containing cocoa in various forms and sizes, other than chocolate confectionery containing cocoa in various forms and sizes, and other than chocolate confectionery containing cocoa in tablets or pastilles.

Total imports of cocoa and cocoa products in 2012 amounted to 3,662 tons, with CIF value of almost US$ 12 million. On the other hand, total exports in 2012 is 512 tons, with a total FOB value of US$ 1.8 million.

Cacao is produced by small farms and then supplies these to processors and manufacturers. The Department of Agriculture (DA) with its Philippine Cacao Roadmap estimates that by 2020, the Philippines can produce 100,000 Metric Tons.

But the nascent cacao industry is beset by problems caused by diseases and insect infestations that accounts for 30 to 40 percent in losses. This was disclosed by the International Cocoa Organization.

De La Salle University (DLSU) is leading the research in addressing the concerns of the industry. DLSU will explore, identify, mass rear, and release biological control agents against cacao pod borer (CPB) and cacao mirid bug (CMB).

Cacao beans become malformed because CPB feeds on the cacao bean pulp that also results on the bens being undersized. The results of severe infestation includes small flat and stuck together beans, yellowing, uneven or premature ripening of pods.

Funding for the project is being provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

Traditional cures for infestation has been chemical pesticides but in this case biological controls will be utilized in arresting the infestations.

With biological control, natural predators to the insects will be introduced, the use of natural parasites to the pests as well as other natural bio-controls.

The project will cover Quezon, Bicol and Davao, regions which reported infestations. 

About the Author

The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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