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Improve Quality and Protect from Pest Attack, Even Cocoa Wear a Mask

harvest cocoa
harvest cocoa (Ministry of Agriculture)

GORONTALO, CILACAP.INFO – Not only humans, to maintain health, cocoa plants also need masks. At least that is what Gotong Royong Plant Pest Organism Control Team (RPO) from Gorontalo Province has done in protecting cocoa plants from pests and diseases. This mask for a plant that produces chocolate as a raw material is a sarong used to wrap cocoa pods to protect them from pod borer pests.

The efforts made by Gotong Royong RPO are in line with direction of Minister of Agriculture (Mentan) Syahrul Yasin Limpo. The Minister of Agriculture previously encouraged all levels of Ministry of Agriculture and farmers to strive to boost productivity of agricultural commodities, including plantations, so that they have value-added quality and are competitive in world market.

According to activist of RPO Gotong Royong, Slamet, efforts to attach sarongs to cocoa pods are still being carried out despite current Covid 19 pandemic. Of course, efforts to protect cocoa plants are carried out by implementing health protocols. “In midst of this pandemic, we are still moving. “Wow, we are not only ones who want to be healthy, tho, cocoa must also be healthy, so OPT must be eradicated, if we just let cocoa die, we will get dizzy, even sick,” said Slamet in his written statement, Monday (21/9) .

Meanwhile, Cocoa Farmer Assistance Team, Gusti said that pest that attacks cocoa in surrounding area is Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) pest. Therefore, his party implements installation of a sarong on cocoa pods. “If not controlled, CPB larvae can cause cocoa pods to stick together, causing quality and quantity of fruit production to decrease by up to 70%. We do sarong so that caterpillars can’t get into fruit, we just have to wear a mask, cocoa becomes masked too, “he said.

This method of sarcasm is done when fruit is very young, nipple is approximately 8 cm in size. Armed with simple equipment consisting of a rubber band, a pipe pipe, and plastic, this method of sarcasm can prevent CPBP imago from laying eggs on pods so that larvae will not bore into fruit. The two ends of plastic are perforated so that air can be exchanged and not humid.

According to him, this method is one of components of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which tends to be environmentally friendly because it does not cause chemical residues, resurgence and pest resistance, and is very easy to do. The use of plastic can be repeated in next fruit season.

By installing sarongs on cocoa pods, Slamet said that from 1 hectare of land more than 1 ton of cocoa can be produced. The price is also quite good, Rp. 38,000 for fermented cocoa and Rp. 20,000 for non-fermented ones.

He hopes that this collaboration with government will continue and be improved in building farmer independence. With spirit of mutual cooperation, controlling cocoa health and maintaining personal health can be done simultaneously. (*)

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