CARDI signs agreement with UWI to introduce innovative technology to monitor coconut tree pest

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Signed, sealed and delivered. The project entitled ‘Innovative Early Detection Pest and Disease Management System using IoTree® sensor in the Real-Time Digital Monitoring of South American Palm Weevil for Conserving Coastal Coconut Palms in Select CARIFORUM Countries,’ has been given the greenlight. The agreement between CARDI and UWI, for the Institute to implement this project was signed in March 2023 by Executive Director, Ansari Hosein.


The project will introduce never before used technology in the Region – a sensor which facilitates early detection of the larval stage of the South American Palm Weevil (SAPW) on coconut palms. The SAPW is a pest of major economic concern as it negatively impacts coconut production and is also a carrier for the nematode which causes Red Ring Disease. Unfortunately, the SAPW is only detected when infestation is advanced and symptoms such as tree mortality are visible. At this stage, mitigation actions are often uneconomical.


Coconut is one of the main crops found growing along the Caribbean’s coastline and contributes to its aesthetic, socioeconomic and environmental value. Due to its ability to survive in marginal and fragile environments, coconut production serves as a source of income and employment for small holder farmers. It also plays an important role in coastal protection through soil stabilization, and protection against strong winds, storm surges, flooding and hurricanes. The tree also sequesters carbon and is important in climate change mitigation.


The deployment of this technology will monitor and inform timely mitigation and control strategies for the SAPW. Early detection allows for the timely treatment of infested trees and thus reduces tree loss and removal.


This intervention is timely notes Project Manager, Dr. Annika Minott as an aging tree population and hot drier climates will exacerbate the impacts of the SAPW and disproportionately increase the vulnerability of coastal communities.


This is one of 13 innovative projects under the Harnessing Innovative Technologies to support Resilient Settlements on the Coastal Zones of the Caribbean (HIT RESET Caribbean) project. It will be implemented in 9 coastal communities in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.


In the short term the project is expected to improve the well-being and livelihoods of residents by supporting the development of resilient coastal settlements through the use of technology.


HIT RESET Caribbean is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund, OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, a programme implemented by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, with the financial contribution of the European Union’. It is being jointly implemented by the University of the West Indies, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and Anton de Kom University of Suriname.