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Cameroon Sends Pesticides to South as Cocoa Caterpillars Spread

Cameroon, Africa’s fourth-biggest cocoa producer, began sending pesticides to areas affected by a spreading caterpillar outbreak, said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Essimi Menye.

Mbom Yekombo and Meyomessala in southern Cameroon each got 1,000 liters (264 gallons) in recent days, Menye said in an interview in Yaounde, the capital, today. The south is Cameroon’s third-biggest growing region.

Caterpillars attacked about 2,000 hectares of cocoa plantations in the south a week ago, destroying 50 percent of plants, Oscar Edima Ndoum, agriculture and rural development delegate for Dja and Lobo in the south, said by phone.

“The effects of the attack will surely be disastrous with a likely drop in production,” he said.

Earlier this year, a caterpillar outbreak was recorded in Cameroon’s southwest region. Bug attacks may curb cocoa production this season by as much as 19 percent, according to the Cocoa and Coffee Board.

Cameroon follows Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria as Africa’s biggest grower of the chocolate ingredient.

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