Challenges and dynamics of South American cocoa production, impacts of cocoa pests and the emergence of the pest Carmenta foraseminis (Sesiidae)

Ninnin, PP

Ingénieur en Systèmes Agricoles et Agroalimentaires Durables au Sud (SAADS)


Cocoa is a production of economic importance in South America, particularly in the five main producers in the Amazon basin (2.8% of the value of the combined exports of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela). However, cocoa is often cultivated in an unsustainable way to achieve high yields, leading to the rapid depletion of resources and massive deforestation of tropical forests through the expansion of production areas. The range of pests and diseases affecting cocoa, including the emerging pest Carmenta foraseminis, greatly reduces cocoa yields and limits the implementation of more sustainable practices. This study aims to identify production issues and dynamics in the Amazon basin and to study the impact of pests and diseases - more specifically the new pest - on the technical and economic performance of cocoa farms. To do so, the study is based on an analysis of the existing bibliography and a mobilisation of field data on a production basin in Peru, the Upper Huayabamba. Based on the state of the art of Chapter I, it appears that the South American cocoa sector faces many challenges of an ecological as well as socio-economic nature. These challenges are shaped by the biophysical characteristics of the production basins, as well as their history and economy. Various responses are being studied, including the establishment of agroforestry systems, the promotion of production through certification and the growing importance of professional organisations. Chapter II deals with the characteristics and epidemiology of moniliosis (Moniliophthora roreri), brown rot (Phytophthora spp.), witches' broom (Moniliophthora perniciosa) and mazorquero (Carmenta foraseminis), with a synthesis of available knowledge on the new pest. These four phytopathogens cause considerable yield losses in the Amazon basin, but few efficient and cost-effective control products are available. This issue of the effectiveness of control practices is further developed in Chapter III, which presents a localized study of cocoa farm management performance in the specific context of a production basin. It is noted that despite the potential of cooperatives to add value to cocoa production, a majority of producers do not have access to sufficient support services and rely heavily on ancillary income to stay above the poverty line. Distinct types of plot maintenance are identified, with visibly higher technical and economic performance for producers who apply phytosanitary products (organic or not) on their cocoa farms.

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