Bowl of exotic tropical fruit - Exotic Tropical Fruit - Cape Tribulation Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm at Cape Tribulation
Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the edge of the Daintree Rainforest  at Cape Tribulationand white-lipped tree frog
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Stories articles and news abot Alison and Digby Gotts


The Samoan Experience
Three days in Tafua
EcoTour Samoa
The Samoan Election
Pruning the Mangoes
Climbing Mt SiliSili
Fourth week in Samoa

Samoan Observer Articles:

Why is there no fruit on my mango?
Want more mangoes next year?
Green oranges or orange oranges?
In search of a Samoan Orange
The Hardest Cut
Rambutan - hairy thing from the forest
Rambutan revisited
Abiu - the emporer's golden fruit
Avocado - fruit or vegetable?
Carambola - star of the rainforest
Durian - the extreme tropical fruit
Rollinia - lemon meringue pies growing in the garden
Sex and the single pawpaw
Soursop - a taste sensation
The mulch story
Do it yourself pest control
The joys of soapy water!
The hungry fruit tree
Positive insects



(One of a series of articles about growing fruit trees in Samoa, written by Digby Gotts and published in the 'Samoa Observer' between December 2000 and April 2001)

If you hadn’t noticed my bias in these articles already, I believe that use of chemicals on farms is responsible for many of the agricultural problems on earth today. Notice that I mean the use of all chemicals, not just pesticides, but fertilizers also. Pesticides can cause the most obvious damage by not only killing the pest insects but also wiping out all the other insects including hunters, pollinators and parasites. All beneficial insects, without which life on the farm becomes that much harder.

The most significant of these is the honey bee, responsible for pollination of a wide range of fruit trees including mango. Without the bee to carry the pollen, the following fruit would fall by at least 50%, possibly disappearing from the market place: avocado, beans, citrus, coconuts, coffee, cucumber, mango, passionfruit, and pumpkin and many of the exotic fruits. Although the bee produces many other products of economic value including honey, wax, propolis, bee venom, and royal jelly, these are far outweighed in value by its role in pollination. It is criminal to me that many farmers are allowed to spray insecticides knowing that bees are killed just as easily as the pest at which the poison was aimed.

Mealy bugs are probably one of the major quarantine pests on Samoa, although in themselves they do little harm to fruit. Insecticides can be freely used to keep the fruit clean but in doing so their predator insects (ladybirds) and parasites (small wasps) are also killed. Not all the mealy bugs are hit by the spray and those that survive breed, and return quickly in numbers. Predator insects were much fewer on the tree and are slower to breed back as there is little food immediately available for the survivors. The spray must be used again, not because the insect has become resistant, but because its natural killer has been wiped out. The natural ecological balance has been destroyed by the spray, and a more severe problem has been created.

The permanent use of an area of land for food production can- fit comfortably into the local ecology, while still allowing most of that food to be left for human use. My own farm in Australia produces fruit for sale and eating by deliberately designing the farm as part of a balanced rainforest ecosystem. The name given to this type of agriculture is “permaculture”. More information and other links about permaculture can be found on my website at


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Last updated November 6, 2014