Published Date: 2010-08-25 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/PL> Black pod, cocoa - Cameroon: (SW) spread
Archive Number: 20100825.3001
BLACK POD, COCOA - CAMEROON: (SUD-OUEST), SPREAD
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 19 Aug 2010
Source: Reuters [edited]
Black pod disease is spreading in Cameroon's top cocoa growing
region, destroying beans in the No. 5 producer nation at the start of
the 2010/11 season. The Southwest region, which accounts for about
half of Cameroon's cocoa output, has been hit hard by rain in recent
weeks, which is undermining quality.
"There is hardly any cocoa farm in the southwest that has not been
attacked since July 2010 by the disease," Southwest Farmers
Cooperative Union's James Mosima said. "Many farmers spent a lot of
money to spray their farms. But the rains wash down all the
insecticides and fungicides."
A farmer said he uprooted some 75 diseased cocoa trees to prevent
black pod from spreading to the rest of his plantation. Farmers said
they needed government help to combat the spread of black pod and
maintain production. An outbreak of black pod in the 2007/08 season
led Cameroon's government to provide fungicides to farmers.
[Byline: Tansa Musa]
[Black pod (also called _Phytophthora_ pod rot) is the primary fungal
disease affecting cocoa worldwide. In Africa, the fungus-like
pathogens _Phytophthora palmivora_ and _P. megakarya_ are associated
with it, but 2 additional species are found in the Americas. _P.
palmivora_ is the most common pathogen and can cause yield losses as
high as 95 percent in very humid climates, with every pod affected.
Pods progressively turn a dark brown. Losses are most severe when
pods are infected during the 2 months prior to ripening. The disease
also causes stem cankers, which are estimated to kill up to 10
percent of trees annually.
Black pod is spread by insect activity, mechanical means, plant
debris, water, and wind. Multiple infections from several sources may
occur in plantations, with epiphytotics developing from a series of
foci simultaneously. Genetic resistance is generally low in
commercial cocoa cultivars. Disease management is difficult and needs
an integrated approach, including cultural techniques, phytosanitary
measures, and targeted fungicide use. However, as reported above,
these measures may be difficult and expensive for local farmers to implement.
Cameroon and neighbours:
Pictures of black pod symptoms:
Additional news story on black pod (Ivory Coast):
Information on black pod via:
Molecular diagnostic methods for black pod:
Economic impact of black pod and other cocoa diseases:
_P. palmivora_ taxonomy:
_P. megakarya_ taxonomy:
Review of cocoa production in Cameroon: