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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Cocoa pod borer

Agriculture is the mainstay of Papua New Guinea's (PNG’s) economy, sustaining the livelihoods of 85% of the population and contributing 14% of foreign exchange earnings. Few or no plant protection interventions are available to smallholders, and pests and diseases remain a constraint to improved crop production.

 

Cocoa pod borer damage

Cocoa pod borer in Papua New Guinea

Over 150,000 households in Papua New Guinea (PNG) depend upon cocoa for their livelihoods but yields are threatened by a number of factors including the cocoa pod borer. A prolific pest that is extremely difficult to eradicate, CPB can devastate cocoa crops, inflicting losses of 80–90%, with subsequent negative impacts on incomes, livelihoods, export earnings and gross domestic product.

Integrated management of the cocoa pod borer in Papua New Guinea: An impact study (PDF)

Coco Pod Borer pupae forming on leaves

When cocoa is severely affected by pests and diseases such as the cocoa pod borer, yields drop especially where management practices are not undertaken adequately, so income from cocoa is lowered and growers look for alternative income sources.

We assessed a range of integrated pest and disease management techniques and we trained a total of 21 master facilitators, 131 facilitators and 378 farmers in this technology, which led to better farming practices.

Although it was not possible for all farmers to adopt everything, those who adopted all or some of the recommended practices attained economies of scale, and improved yields and incomes, which sustained cocoa growing even when cocoa prices were low.

Trainees undergoing a hands-on exercise

The training materials we developed on integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) were integrated into private sector training and extension programmes.

The package has become part of the national cocoa strategy and is formally recommended by Papua New Guinea's Cocoa Coconut Institute Limited in its IPDM manual for farmers.

The management strategies we developed management have been integrated into the World Bank-funded Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP). To date 3,600 farmers have used the new practices and a targeted 20% adoption rate is expected to result in a total of 30,000 farmers adopting the new practices by 2019.