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The 16th International Cocoa Research Conference, 16th-21st November 2009 & The 6th INCOPED International Seminar, 23rd November 2009, Bali, Indonesia
The International Cocoa Research Conference (ICRC) takes place every 3 years, usually on a rotational basis between the Americas, Africa and Asia.
The 2009 ICRC was organised by The Cocoa Producers’ Alliance (COPAL) in conjunction with the government of Indonesia and ICCRI (Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute) and took place in Bali, Indonesia from 16th – 21st November. The theme of this year’s conference was “Towards rational cocoa production and efficient use for a sustainable world cocoa economy”.
Indonesia was an excellent choice of host for the event as it boasts being the worlds 3rd largest producer of cocoa.
More than 1 million hectares of land is given over to cocoa production and most of this by smallholder farmers.
Bali itself is a beautiful and interesting location for a conference with amazing people, culture, sights and local food.
The conference was attended by around 250 people from around the globe including researchers, producers, industry and policy makers. The meeting itself ran for 6 days and comprised of several keynote papers, presentations of scientific papers, poster sessions and an exhibition of local institutes and produces of cocoa products.
Seven keynote papers were delivered on various topics: Research for growth and sustainability in the cocoa industry by Jan Vingerhoets (Executive Director International Cocoa Organisation), a national plan for increasing production and quality of cocoa in Indonesia by Ir.
Achmad Mangga Barani (Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesia). Jan Engels (Bioversity) proposed a global strategy for the conservation and utilization of cacao genetic resources. Claire Lanaud (CIRAD) discussed advances in cocoa molecular genetics and their prospects.
The principles of EU legislation on food safety and their impact on cocoa and chocolate were highlighted by Isabelle Adam and David Zimmer (European Cocoa Association and CAOBISCO). Prof Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere (Director of the Iternational Service for National Agricultural Research, of the International Food Policy Research Institute (lFPRI)) discussed the sustainability of smallholder cocoa production in West Africa through rural transformation and Louis Pereira (CEPLAC, Brazil) gave a presentation entitled ‘Sustainability in cocoa cultivation: are we getting there?’.
Midweek there was a field trip to visit some of the smallholder cocoa farmer and small-scale cocoa agro-industries on the island as well as to visit some of the sights.
In addition to the keynote papers there were 92 scientific papers and 138 posters presented. These were divided into the following groups: Crop protection; Chemistry, technology & quality; the environment; Transfer of technology; Marketing & socioeconomics; Agronomy; Quantitative genetics; Molecular biology. The pest control papers and posters focused mainly on the investigation into, and control strategies for, the main diseases found in the different regions. Three fungal diseases cause the greatest constraints to cocoa production in Latin America: frosty pod rot (Moniliophthora roreri), witches’ broom (M. perniciosa) and black pod (Phytophthora palmivora). The fungal pathogen Phytophthora megakarya, insect pests, mirids and the viral pathogen, cocoa swollen shoot virus (CSSV) all cause severe losses in Africa. Indonesia has its own concerns where the fungal disease vascular streak dieback (VSD; Oncobasidium theobromae) and insect pest, Conopomorpha cramerella (cocoa pod borer; CPB) both cause severe losses.
The final session of the conference was an open discussion session followed by a conference summary where the proposed theme for the 17th ICRC was agreed upon “Safeguarding and maximizing returns for small holder cocoa production and key stake holders for sustainable production”. Paul Hadley from the University of Reading was proposed and elected as chairman of the International Organising Committee for the next meeting which will be held in Cameroon in 2012.
The International Permanent Working Group for Cocoa Pests and Diseases (INCOPED) 6th International Seminar took place in on the 23rd November following the main ICRC meeting. The INCOPED Seminar focuses on cocoa pests and diseases, their biology and control. It is also a forum for discussion between the regional working groups from West and Central Africa, South East Asia & Pacific, South and Central America to update each other on current pests and diseases of regional importance and the status of their management.
Because there is such a broad program at this international conference it offers a unique opportunity to share research and knowledge with others in the cocoa community, from different parts of the world and from different disciplines. I am very grateful to BSPP for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference to share the finding of our work on biocontrol of frosty pod rot and witches’ broom in cocoa.
Jayne Crozier CABI – Caribbean & Latin America