Caterpillar invasion could negatively affect cocoa output in some southern regions in Ivory Coast.
According to information from farmer associations, some 200ha of farms are already affected in San Pedro where the world’s biggest cocoa export port is located.
Apollinaire Boa, a cocoa farmer in the Sassandra Region said: “We will have a lot of losses. The caterpillars are ravaging many pods and leaves in the plantations.”
The farmers said it was important the government took urgent steps to prevent the pests from spreading to more farms.
Although the situation raises questions about the affected regions’ output, its threat to national production could be limited, if measures are taken to curb it, as no caterpillar attack has been recorded in other major growing areas such as Daloa, Soubre, and Abengourou.
Ivory Coast, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, has over 2 million hectares of cocoa farms across 51 districts in the West African country.