Integrated management of the cocoa pod borer in Papua New Guinea: An impact study
Published: January, 2016
Over 150,000 households in Papua New Guinea (PNG) depend upon cocoa for their livelihoods but yields are threatened by a number of factors including the cocoa pod borer (CPB). A prolific pest that is extremely difficult to eradicate, CPB can devastate cocoa crops, inflicting losses of 80–90%, with subsequent negative impacts on incomes, livelihoods, export earnings and gross domestic product. It is generally accepted that eradication is difficult and therefore not really an option. The best strategy is for farmers to use a combination of techniques under integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) to lower infestation levels.
In 2007, CPB caused great loss and hardship to the people of PNG’s East New Britain Province (ENBP) whose livelihoods are sustained by cocoa. Amid fears that the same fate would befall all cocoa growers in the country, a 2008–2011 project – funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), led by CABI, and jointly implemented with the PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute Limited (CCIL) and other partners – set out to enable PNG cocoa stakeholders to better manage the pest. Titled ‘Managing CPB in PNG through improved risk incursion management capabilities, IPM strategies and stakeholder participatory training’ (CPB1), the project worked to help cocoa growers improve CPB monitoring and surveillance procedures, adapt – for use in PNG – IPDM technology successfully used to manage CPB in other countries, and carry out participatory training and extension for cocoa farmers.
In 2015, project partners, including CCIL and CABI, revisited PNG stakeholders and farmers to assess the project’s impact. Through a household survey, review of secondary literature and key informant interviews (KIIs), the adoption and spread of IPDM technologies recommended in CPB1 were evaluated. The aim was to find out: How had farmers involved in the project benefited? Were they still using the technologies and earning income from cocoa? Were those who were trained as trainers still training others? Were the recommended methods in widespread use beyond the farmers directly involved in the project? Have methods been incorporated into policy? What factors encouraged uptake of recommended IPDM technology and what factors hampered it? What lessons were learned about project design and implementation?
This brief summarizes the activities, findings and recommendations of this follow-up study.