Evaluation of Breeding Substrates for Cocoa Pollinator, Forcipomyia spp. and Subsequent Implications for Yield in a Tropical Cocoa Production System


A comparative study was carried out to determine the most suitable substrate for breeding of midges (Forcipomyia spp.) and the implications for pollination and yield in a typical cocoa production system in the forest ecological zone of Ghana. For the field experiment, the typically available substrates in cocoa farms which were used as the treatments under cocoa trees were: 1) rotten cocoa leaf litter; 2) rotten cocoa pod husks; and 3) rotten banana pseudostem. The untreated cocoa trees served as control. The experiment was set up in a randomized complete block design with three replications. For the laboratory experiment, the design was completely randomized design with four replications. The objective was to determine which substrate best supported breeding of the midges. The rotten banana pseudostem substrate recorded the highest population (7680) of Forcipomyia spp. after 56 days of observation. The cocoa pod husk and cocoa leaf litter recorded populations of 5226 and 1920, respectively. Similar observations were recorded in the level of pollination of the cocoa trees treated with rotten banana pseudostem (95.78%), cocoa pod husks (89.05%) and cocoa leaf litter (68.42%). Application of all substrates to the cocoa tree resulted in a 77% mean reduction in flower abortion as compared to the control. Fruit abortion, on the other hand, was significantly greater in trees treated with rotten banana pseudostem (73.7%) and rotten cocoa pod husks (71.3%) than in trees treated with rotten cocoa leaf litter (54.3%). Application of banana substrate explained 88% of the variation in cherelle production (fruit set) whereas cocoa pod husks and cocoa leaf litter accounted for 71% and 94%, respectively, of the variation in cherelle production. The study concluded that although cocoa leaf litter resulted in average increases in midges population and subsequently not too high levels of pollination, there was a significantly higher number of set fruits retained which implied high cocoa pod yields. Consequently, in accordance with the observed trend cocoa leaf litter should be considered as the most appropriate substrate for midges activity in cocoa for high yields.

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M. Adjaloo, B. Banful and W. Oduro, "Evaluation of Breeding Substrates for Cocoa Pollinator, Forcipomyia spp. and Subsequent Implications for Yield in a Tropical Cocoa Production System," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2013, pp. 204-211. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.42027.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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