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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Rehabilitating cocoa production in Vanuatu

Rehabilitating cocoa production in Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, a decade of low world cocoa prices has led to many smallholder farmers neglecting their cocoa trees, resulting in infestations of black pod disease and rats, with catastrophic yield losses.  

Healthy cocoa pod

Rehbilitating cocoa production in Vanuatu

An Integrated pest and disease management programme was initiated by CABI and CSIRO to demonstrate that increased yields could be achieved by using straightforward and practical control methods.

Cocoa farmer group in Epi, VanuatuProtecting commodities; safeguarding livelihoods  

Trial results show that effective pest management offered greater yields

The participatory training, and subsequent sharing of lessons by participating farmers, had clearly contributed to increased adoption of better cocoa management and a greater allocation of time compared to other crops, as merited by the higher rewards to labour that cocoa offered. 15 of the 18 farmers interviewed said that they were interested in further training

Cocoa farmer group in VanuatuProtecting commodities; safeguarding livelihoods

Many farmers implement training 18 months later

18 farmers were interviewed, including 13 who had been trained by CABI and CSIRO, four of whom who had been trained by ‘apostles’, and one who had had no training. Of the 18, seven were continuing to carry out a high level of cocoa management, nine were carrying out a medium level of management, and only two were carrying out the lowest level.

Rehabilitating cocoa in Vanuatu

Majority of farmers increased annual yields following training

Yield increases of 40-55% were reported by a few farmers, compared to previous years or other trees that were receiving lower levels of management. One farmer reported an 800% increase in yield, going from one sack previously to nine sacks of cocoa, through high level management of his 300 trees. Another farmer implementing high level management on 8,000 trees reported a 410% increase in yields. Under medium level management, one farmer reported 235% more yield from his 1,000 trees.

See our full project page on rehabilitating cocoa in Vanuatu.