How Gummy Stem Blight affects Christophene production in Trinidad

Contributed by Aldo Hanel and Naitram Ramnanan, CABI.

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The Northern Range region in Trinidad and Tobago is not only home to the most pristine and untouched areas of the country but it also provides the best agroecological environment for christophene (chayote) production in the country. Follow up from a sample brought to a plant clinic in 2015 revealed that the disease known as Gummy Stem Blight, caused by the fungus Didymella bryoniae, was pervasive in christophene farms in the Northern Range. Government reports show that since the outbreak of this disease, christophene production has dropped significantly.

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Feasibility of adopting an IPM approach for sustainable Christophene production in the Northern Range of Trinidad

plantwiseTT_14Contributed by Aldo Hanel, CABI. 

Brasso Secco is a pristine environment located in the Northern Range of Trinidad in close proximity to the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre. This farming community, among others, is nestled deep in the bosom of the of the Northern Range where approximately 300 family farms depend on Christophene production for their economic survival and well-being. Agriculture, and in particular “Christo” as the crop is fondly called, is the main source of income to more than 75% of them. Any major pest or disease could be devastating not only to the livelihood of these families, but also to the country’s environment if its control results in the inappropriate use of pesticides.

An outbreak of Gummy Stem Blight occurred 11 years ago and the disease is now endemic, affecting 100 percent of farms. Could an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy be adopted to control this fungal disease and to protect the livelihoods of farmers while protecting this pristine environment? Continue reading