Cocoa Pollination for Optimised Production

This week is the International Congress of Entomology, 2016, held in Orlando, FL, USA.

Several CocoaPOP staff from NRI attended, as well as CocoaPOP intern Samantha Forbes.

Dr Sarah Arnold presented cocoa midge behaviour and chemical ecology findings from the project in a contributed session: "Pollination interactions with the "sweet" scent of cocoa flowers". doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.110659

Arnold ICE

Samantha Forbes also kept the meeting cocoa-flavoured, presenting some of her research from Australia that she carried out before joining the team in UTT in 2015. doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.113949

The meeting contains a huge number of eminent pollination ecologists from all across the world and the CocoaPOP team are delighted to share their research here.

CocoaPOP closing meeting: videos


Here are some videos made by UTT Marketing during the course of the closing meeting.


Introductory addresses:

Mr James Rawle, Chairman of the Cocoa Industry Board, Jamaica

Mr Vernon Barrett, Chair of the CocoaPOP External Advisory Board introduces the project and its objectives and progress


Scientific addresses:

Dr Puran Bridgemohan, Crop Scientist, talking about cocoa phenology and cocoa midge augementation

Mr Bob Ramnanan, CABI scientist, talking about DNA barcoding of cocoa midges

Dr Sarah Arnold, Behavioural Entomologist/Pollination Ecologist, introducing the project and talking about cocoa pollination and biodiversity

Prof Phil Stevenson, Natural Products Chemist, talking about the chemical ecology behind cocoa pollination


CocoaPOP closing meeting announcement


CocoaPOP is holding its closing meeting on 5th April 2016

This will be an open, symposium-style event with speakers from the project and also panels and discussion sessions.


Location: Soldado/St. Giles Lecture Hall, UTT Agora Campus,
Lot#1, Off Munroe Road Exit and Uriah Butler Highway, Charlieville, Chaguanas


Please register here - registration and attendance is free!


All stakeholders are invited to attend, including:

  • Cocoa Growers, Cocoa Associations; Cocoa Processors
  • Investors & prospective investors in Cocoa – new farmers, small businesses (MSME’s)
  • Exporters, buying agents, fermentary operators, public sector representatives
  • Academics and researchers
  • Private sector cocoa processors, chocolatiers, food specialists
  • Public and private sector individuals involved in rural development and sustainability of small farming communities
  • Caribbean Government officials from Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Affairs, International Trade, Education, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology, Tobago House of Assembly

The CocoaPOP closing meeting has taken place.


"Cocoa Pollination Research Advances" was held at the UTT Agora Campus on 5th April 2016.

There were initial addresses from the President of UTT, representatives from the Cocoa Industry Board of Jamaica, the EU and the CocoaPOP external advisory board, as well as the project coordinator Dr Puran Bridgemohan.

There were then presentations from various academics presenting organisations involved in the research and training conducted over the course of the project, including some perspectives from farmers, and a panel discussion to close with thoughts shared by the stakeholders attending.


CocoaPOP crew


We were delighted to welcome a range of delegates, including farmers, researchers, Ministry representatives, project management staff and industry representatives to the meeting. Discussion was lively and varied, and we enjoyed sharing the research and findings to date.





A complete set of photos from the meeting are available from the University of Trinidad and Tobago official photostream.


Extracts from some of the talks and addresses are also available from the UTT YouTube channel:

Mr James Rawle, Chairman of the Cocoa Industry Board of Jamaica

Mr Vernon Barrett, Chairman of the CococaPOP External Advisory Board

Mr Bob Ramnanam, CABI

Dr Sarah Arnold, NRI


Some pdfs of the talks will be made available here in due course.


We hope to continue many aspects of this research work into the future and build on what we've learned, in order to bring positive change to cocoa and help to create a sustainable future for it in the Caribbean and beyond!

As we move into the final months of the CocoaPOP project, experiments are continuing.


In Trinidad, staff and students are completing the final processing of insect biodiversity samples from cocoa estates Tobago. In the UK, chemical ecology experiments are ongoing, with some exciting results coming through!


Then CocoaPOP closing meeting is expected to take place around April 2016. Results from the different work packages will also be presented at conferences and other events throughout the year.