UK scientists are warning that world chocolate production could fall dramatically if diseases, which have devastated South American cultivation of cacao over the past 15 years (the raw material used for producing chocolate), were to spread to some of the world’s other cacao producing regions.
Writing in the Summer 2004 edition of Biologist, Dr Gareth Griffith of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth warns that increased trade and improved transport links between South America and other cacao growing countries could allow fungal infections such as Witches’ Broom Disease and Frosty Pod Disease to spread to these hitherto uninfected areas. Alone and in combination these diseases can cause near total crop failure.
The recent spread of other fungal pathogens such as sudden oak death (caused by Phytophthora ramorum) highlights the fact that global trade is not risk-free. Formal risk assessments need to be conducted to minimise the spread of plant pathogens.
Arthur Dafis | alfa
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