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Pests of Coconut and Cocoa

The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is an erect palm in the family Arecaceae which is grown its fruits, used primarily for the extraction of coconut oil for use in cooking. The coconut palm has an erect or slightly curved stem which grows from a swollen base. The stem is smooth, light gray in color and has prominent leaf scars. The stem is topped with a crown of 60-70 spirally arranged leaves. The leaves are long (up to 7 m/23 ft), pinnately divided and composed of 200-250 tapering leaflets. The inflorescence is a spike produced at the leaf axil with 20-60 branches, each with a female flower at the base and many male flowers. The fruit is a drupe containing a single seed. Coconut palms can reach a height of 30 m (98 ft), produce up to 75 fruits a year, and live for up to 90 years. The origin of the coconut is unknown although the center of genetic diversity lies in Southeast Asia. Black pod and the cocoa swollen shoot virus (CSSV) are the primary disease affecting the region with black pod being very severe (51.56%). Major insect pests in the region are cocoa mirid (11.44%), termites (13.16%) and the pod husk borer (7.46%). Mistletoes and moss weed pests were recorded in the region. Management strategies to control the pest and to prevent the transportation of the pest and/or disease material into a state of low incidence should be developed.