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Dynamics of insect pollinators as influenced by cocoa production systems in Ghana

Keywords: Pollination , cocoa pod-set , ceratopogonid midges , plantain/banana , forest

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Abstract:

Cocoa is strictly entomophilous but studies on the influence of the ecosystem on insect pollinators in cocoa production systems are limited. The abundance of cocoa pollinators and pod-set of cocoa as influenced by a gradient of farm distances from natural forest and proportion of plantain/banana clusters in or adjacent to cocoa farms were therefore investigated. Cocoa pollinators trapped were predominantly ceratopogonid midges hence, analyses were based on their population. Variation in farm distance to forest did neither influence ceratopogonid midge abundance nor cocoa pod-set. However, we found a positive relationship between pollinator abundance and fruit set and the proportion of plantain/banana intercropped with cocoa. The results suggest appropriate cocoa intercrop can enhance cocoa pollination, and the current farming system in Ghana can conveniently accommodate such interventions without significant changes in farm practices.

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