Statement on Frosty Pod
By Hon. Karl Samuda, CD, MP
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries
Wednesday, December 13, 2017.
A number of measures have been taken since the confirmation of Frosty Pod Rot of Cocoa locally in August 2016.
The Plant Pest Emergency Response Team was activated. That team included representatives from the Plant Quarantine and Research and Development Divisions of the ministry, RADA, the Cocoa Industry Board (CIB), UWI and IICA.
A survey was done to assess the spread of the disease. The survey found that the first incidence of the disease was in Northern Clarendon based on the level of infestation. Small clusters in St. Mary, St. Catherine, and St. Andrew were also found to be infested with the disease.
Approximately 70% of cocoa producing areas in Clarendon was found to be infested and the remaining 30% was considered apparently infested. This is within the context that 70% of the cocoa production in Jamaica is in Northern Clarendon.
We immediately enacted the Frosty Pod Rot Order 2016 to curtail the spread of the highly infectious fungus. That order was lifted in December 2016.
A Project Team was set up under the CIB with the support of the Ministry to manage the disease.
Several activities were also conducted including stripping, pruning and spraying and over 500 farmers were sensitized in the affected areas of Clarendon, St. Mary, St. Catherine and St. Andrew.
Where are we now?
The Ministry can now confirm that the disease has spread in the affected parishes of St. Mary, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. Andrew. A more radical approach is now needed for curtailing the spread of this disease.
We have taken a decision to reinstitute the Plant Quarantine Frosty Pod Rot of Cocoa Order, 2017, which has become necessary to counter the rapid spread of the Frosty Pod Rot disease. The order which becomes effective today, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, declares the parishes of Clarendon, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Mary to be infested with Frosty Pod Rot.
The Public is NOT ALLOWED to move or dispatch from or move into any area of Jamaica any cocoa pods, plants, seedlings, cuttings, plant products, plant related materials or related articles unless permission is given in writing by the Chief Plant Quarantine Officer.
If anyone knows of or suspects the existence of Frosty Pod Rot on any property in Jamaica, they must immediately inform the Plant Quarantine, Produce Inspection Branch, their RADA Parish Manager, the Research Director at Bodles or the CIB.
The Chief Plant Quarantine Officer may enter any land that is infested to control and or eradicate the disease. This Order permits a Plant Quarantine, RADA, Research & Development , or a CIB Successor Officer to destroy, remove, uproot, dispose of, prune or treat any cocoa plant, plant product or plant article.
We will also carry out:
o Radical pruning for heavily infested parishes followed by stripping, liming and pruning
o Strip remaining pods from trees
o Prune and treat trees
o Continue to monitor for any possible reoccurrence of the disease and
o Raise public awareness through the print and electronic media
I must appeal to farmers and other cocoa stakeholders to assist with curtailing the spread of this disease by complying with the order.
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