Cocoa production improves in Jamaica after disease worry

Cocoa production has increased 87 per cent increase in areas of Jamaica where the Frosty Pod Rot (FPR) Management Project was implemented, said the Agriculture Ministry.

Cocoa yields have increased in all areas the project was implemented.

The project, which was undertaken in 11 communities in St Mary, was designed to curtail the spread of the disease which affects the crop and reduces yield.

All communities that had the project saw an increase in production, said Chief Plant Quarantine and Produce Inspector in the Ministry, Sanniel Wilson.

Frosty Pod Rot can spread quickly and be devastating to cocoa yields. (Photo: JIS)

“For the entire period of 2017 to September 2018 before we started our project implementation, we collected 531 boxes of cocoa in the 11 communities. For the period 2018 to 2019, we are now seeing an increase of 492 boxes, which is reflecting an 87 per cent increase over the previous year,” Wilson said.

She added that the national output has increased 45 per cent, moving from an average of 100 metric tonnes in 2016 to 145 metric tonnes.

Frosty Pod Rot is highly contagious and may spread easily by wind and human activities.