Cocoa is very susceptible to attack by insect pests and fungal diseases. Cocoa capsids (also called mirids), which are sap-feeding insects, can destroy developing shoots and leaves. Severe attack may cause defoliation and subsequent low yields. Attacks are more serious where shade is reduced, so may occur after the death or felling of a forest tree. Although developing pods (cherelles) may be damaged, capsids do not generally cause serious damage to pods in West Africa. The situation is different in other locations, for example in South and Central America and Papua New Guinea where pod feeding by capsids causes serious crop loss.
Black pod, caused by fungi of the Phytophthora genus, is a very serious disease that attacks, principally, cocoa pods.
Cocoa pods affected by black pod disease.
|an average of six capsids per ten trees are capable of causing very serious injury. They are sucking insects and they damage the soft young tissues of the tree by piercing the young shoots with their mouth parts, injecting poisonous saliva and then sucking liquid food out of the resulting wound.|