The Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, is encouraging farmers to cooperate with the Frosty Pod Rot (FPR) Management Programme agents.
Frosty pod rot is an airborne disease that can easily spread from one farm to another by the wind. The disease affects cocoa, and it is caused by a fungus (Moniliophthora roreri).
Speaking earlier this month, Shaw noted that some farmers had been resisting efforts of the work of the Ministry.
“Plant Quarantine members have been threatened and, in some cases, barred from entering farmers’ holdings, due to miscommunication and the misconception that the team was on a mission to eradicate and destroy their cocoa orchards,” he explained.
“We are asking our farmers to bear with us and allow our officers entry to their farms.”— Shaw
The Minister said the cooperation of farmers is important to reduce the effect that the spread of the disease can have on the cocoa industry.
“We need the cooperation of the farmers to stem the spread of the disease. Therefore, we are asking our farmers to bear with us and allow our officers entry to their farms to carry out the necessary intervention measures,” he said.
According to the Minister, there are about 1,300 active cocoa farmers and all stakeholders need to work together to secure the full resuscitation of Jamaica’s valuable cocoa industry.
Under the Frosty Pod Rot Management Programme, approximately 225 hectares of cocoa have been pruned, benefitting 187 farmers, principally in St. Mary.