Ministerial Order Stopping Cocoa Production Lifted

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has lifted a ministerial order, placed in August, which stopped cocoa production across the island, in response to the frosty pod rot disease affecting the plant.
  • Small clusters of farms in St. Mary, St. Catherine and St. Andrew were also found to be affected.
  • “We will continue to support the industry financially and in every way possible through extension services, and will under the containment programme, ensure that the industry remain viable and play its part in the development and growth in the country,” he said.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has lifted a ministerial order, placed in August, which stopped cocoa production across the island, in response to the frosty pod rot disease affecting the plant.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, said the Ministry will instead be using a strategy of field management with a view to control and eventually eradicate the disease over the long term.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Friday (December 30), he said upon determining that the disease was sufficiently widespread, the Ministry decided to embark on a containment programme which will allow unaffected farmers to proceed with production.

“We are going now into control mode, with a view to eventually eradicate the disease over a protracted period, instead of at first challenging the disease by attempting to eradicate it over a short term period,” Mr. Samuda said.

Following confirmation of reports of the frosty pod rot disease, the Ministry’s National Plant Health Coordinating Committee conducted a delimiting survey which revealed that the disease was primarily present in Northern Clarendon, affecting 70 per cent of cocoa produced in that area. Northern Clarendon accounts for 70 per cent of total cocoa production.

Small clusters of farms in St. Mary, St. Catherine and St. Andrew were also found to be affected.

Minister Samuda said pest alerts were published, in addition to the survey which determined the impact of the infestation and the potential for economic loss.

“We will continue to support the industry financially and in every way possible through extension services, and will under the containment programme, ensure that the industry remain viable and play its part in the development and growth in the country,” he said.

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