Visit to the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU), University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
Entry: Bill Guyton
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) in Trinidad. For nearly a decade, The World Cocoa Foundation has been funding important research at CRU to evaluate cocoa germplasm for resistance to Witches’ Broom disease. This was my first opportunity to actually see the research facilities and meet the excellent researchers who have been working on the program. The photographs below were taken by Dr. Lyndel Meinhardt from USDA/ARS, who joined me on the trip.
CRU is located on the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, just outside of Port of Spain. It is one of two international cacao germplasm field collections, representing clones of cacao collected from centers of origin in the Amazon and from other sources. The aim of the project that World Cocoa Foundation sponsors is to develop efficient methods for evaluating for witches’ broom disease resistance, and by using this method, evaluating representative trees in the international collection for witches’ broom resistance. These clones will be made available to farmers and to other researchers in the region.
We at World Cocoa Foundation extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Darin Sukha and the excellent team at the CRU for their important work in helping cocoa farmers:
Mrs. Frances Bekele - Research Fellow
Dr. Darin Sukha - Research Fellow
Mrs. Gillian Bidaisee - Contract Officer
Mr. Lambert Motilal - Contract Officer
Ms. Antoinette Sankar - Contract Officer
Mrs. Romina Umaharan - Contract Officer
Mr. Balram Latchman - Contract Officer
Dr. Michel Boccara - Molecular Biologist (CIRAD-CP)
10 Technical and Laboratory Assistants
2 Administrative Staff
We also wish to pay tribute to Dr. David Butler for his long term dedication and commitment to the program over the years.