Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cocoa pod borer

Did you know that there’s such a thing as a cocoa pod borer? No? It’s probably not really something that you’ve wondered about. Well yes, there is a cocoa pod borer and it has devastated the local cocoa crops here. People here used to produce a lot of cocoa as their cash crop, but since the borer came in, they switched to copra (coconut). However it is much harder work to produce copra, and recently the value of copra has gone down too.

The World Bank helped to fund the provision of a new type of cocoa plant that is more resistant to the cocoa pod borer. Villagers can buy young cocoa plants and start new cocoa gardens, but first they have to clear the ground of their old and pretty useless cocoa plants, so this was happening a lot recently.

Here are a couple of photos of rather sad-looking, felled cocoa plots.

These cocoa plots don’t look like that any more. They now have young cocoa plants growing in them. I should take photos when I’m there again to show you the difference. There was a while there when people had got their cocoa plants and they were in the village, needing to be taken up to the gardens, and they were carried up in the usual manner here, in the traditional backpacks. It looked rather funny to me, seeing the tips of the small trees peeping over people’s shoulders. I also got involved and carried two plants up once.

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