3 times read

Pests And Diseases Of Coconut Palms In The Caribbean Region

Coconut palms are exceptionally tolerant to their environment and are affected by maladies, some of which are often fatal, causing enormous economic loss to coconut growers worldwide. Approximately ten million families in rural coconut growing communities in many tropical countries depend on coconut as a source of food and incomes. Coconut palms are affected by forty-eight disorders including pathogenic diseases, nutrient toxicities, nutrient deficiencies, drought, unfavourable soil conditions and lightning. Twenty four fungal diseases, one bacterial, one flagellate, two viroids, one viral, ten phytoplasma diseases and others of unknown etiology are of importance to sustainable coconut production. Coconuts are also affected by numerous insect pests which could severely affect global coconut production.  In the Caribbean region coconuts are affected by diseases such as lethal yellowing, budrot, red ring, hartrot and various leafspot diseases. These diseases pose a global threat to coconut production and can spread to any coconut producing country. Coconut pests in the region are gall mites, ambrosia beetle, Armyworm, palm weevil, cockle beetles (American rhinoceros beetle), red palm mites, scales, mealybug and rats.  It is very important to find, where possible, resistant varieties to the diseases of coconut palms and to use available management strategies for the control of these pests and diseases. Selected coconut varieties in other regions of the world should be used in experimental trials in Caribbean region to assess their resistant/susceptibility threshold. These trials should be replicated in other regions, so as to assess, where possible, the resistance of variety to pathogen variations. Procedures for germplasm collection and transfer to should be closely examined to mitigate the risks associated with different pests  The planting of resistant varieties is one of the best ways to combat a devastating disease like lethal yellowing. ‘Porroca’ disease, of unknown etiology, is not yet discovered in the Caribbean region but is found in Columbia and was recently discovered in Brazil, South America. South America is a neighboring region and this disease must be taken seriously by the Caribbean region and the world.  Currently, DNA technology is used for the identification and characterization of phytoplasma; the causative pathogen for lethal yellowing disease. This has allowed for effective management strategies which reduce the spread of the disease.              


....Read Now