Cocoa Borlaug Fellow Alumnus Attends Cocoa Workshop in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Entry: Muhammad Junaid, Hasanuddin University, Makassar, Indonesia
The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science & Technology Fellowship Program’s Global Cocoa Initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service and implemented in collaboration with the World Cocoa Foundation. The program supports scientists from select cocoa-producing countries to complete 2-3 month fellowships at a U.S. research institute or university. Muhammad Junaid completed his fellowship in 2009 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. His research focuses on vascular streak dieback disease, an emerging cocoa disease in Indonesia.
In June 2010, a workshop was organized in Anreapi, Polman Regency, West Sulawesi, Indonesia by the Institute for the Assessment of Agricultural Technology (BPTP), the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) . This workshop was opened by the regent of Polman and attended by approximately 100 participants including: farmers/ farmer groups, extension officers, representatives of the agriculture and plantation offices, the regency’s expert staff, ACIAR research team, ICCRI, and Hasanuddin University.
Before the workshop, the technical team visited the clone trials in Padali Soppeng, and an experimental farm in Allacalimpo, Pinrang. In Pinrang, the technical team held a discussion with farmer groups. Some of the issues discussed with the farmers included: how vascular streak dieback disease is spread, control measures for vascular streak dieback disease and black pod disease, and pruning techniques.
The following is a picture of extensionists and farmers looking at a cacao tree that was side grafted (see black arrow):
In Anreapi, the workshop participants were divided into three groups. Each group was guided by a mentor who discussed the topics of pruning, composting, and pests/diseases of cocoa. During the workshop, the participants were highly enthusiastic. They asked very detailed questions about plant maintenance by pruning and how to control pests and diseases of cocoa.
Shade management is important for controlling pests and diseases that impact the crop including vascular streak dieback and black pod disease. ICCRI scientists discussed the importance of shade management which includes allowing for free circulation of air to limit humidity and sunlight to fall on the soil surface. These micro-climate conditions help protect plants from pests and disease.
A representative of ACIAR explained how black pod is spread by spores that cover the surface of infected pods. The spores have a white powdery appearance and each infected pod can be covered with 600,000 spores which can infect others.
An ICCRI scientist also explained to participants how to control black pod by disposing of the pods infected by the disease as a part of the pruning process. Although farmers were familiar with the concept of pruning, they were not aware of its role in disease control and the importance of removing diseased pods. Other ICCRI scientists discussed good pruning techniques, the major pests of cocoa and how to control them, and how to make compost from cocoa waste using a bioactivator which consists of beneficial bacteria.
All of the participants in the workshop found the workshop to be valuable and received a lot of information about cocoa and ways of handling common problems.