Pests and Diseases

Losses to pests and diseases have been estimated to reduce global production by over 30%. Severe attacks can devastate yields or cause the death of trees, sometimes causing farmers to abandon their cocoa altogether. We have supported a number of projects to gain a better understanding of pests and diseases and how to control them with minimal use of pesticides.

Cocoa is attacked by a number of different pests and diseases. Descriptions of these organisms and measures that can be used to control them can be found on the following websites*:

We are supporting research to improve our understanding of the pests and diseases and to develop new ways to control them:

  • Witches' Broom disease: understanding its genetic diversity, mode of infection and host resistance.
  • Black Pod disease: understanding host resistance and pre-breeding to accumulate resistance genes.
  • Frosty Pod disease: contributing to studies of potential biological control agents.
  • Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus: understanding movement through the host and developing molecular screening tools for use in quarantine procedures
  • Cocoa Pod Borer: understanding the life cycle/epidemiology and encouraging use of integrated pest management (IPM) techniques
  • Mirids: investigating the potential of pheromones and other biological control agents
  • Other pests: investigating the potential of pheromones to control stem borer and Helopeltis
The Mabang Megakarya Selection Programme (MMSP)

MMSP was initiated in 2005 to introduce an advanced, large-scale breeding approach to developing planting materials in Ghana that would produce high yields of good quality cocoa even under heavy pressure from Phytophthora megakarya and other pests and pathogens...view more ›››

"Gaining a better understanding of the pests and diseases of cocoa, so as to control them with minimal use of pesticides"