Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Crop Protection, Volume 23, Issue 5, p.415 - 424 (2004)
Black pod rot, caused by Phytophthora megakarya, is the main cause of cocoa harvest losses in Cameroon. Field experiments were carried out over two successive years in two smallholders’ plots of cocoa trees, in order to assess the impact of diseased pod removal (phytosanitary pod removal) on disease progress, total production and final harvest. The generalized linear mixed model proved to be the most appropriate for comparing the two treatments (without and with pod removal) set up in a randomized complete block design. Removing diseased pods helped to reduce the black pod rate by 22% and 31% in the two sites in the first year, and by 9% and 11% in the second year, compared to a plot in which no preventive control measures were taken. The rate of cherelle (very young pod) appearance was also higher when pod removal was carried out. Total production was higher in the plots with pod removal, but the difference between the two treatments was not significant. This study allowed an evaluation of the respective roles of primary and secondary inoculum in the spread of the disease. The cultural practice of phytosanitary pod removal was found to be a potentially efficient control method. However, it would need to be associated with other control methods to establish an integrated management system for cocoa farmers.