It has been my observation that the little-known prehensile-tailed rat (Pogonomys mollipilosus) loves the sweet gel around the seeds of cocoa beans and I have wondered how cocoa can be protected from their adverse economic enthusiasms.
The notion may well come to a head, with Mossman Agricultural Services helping to develop a cocoa industry with a $199,000 Sugar Industry Innovation Fund grant. In partnership with Cocoa Australia and Mossman Central Mill, the project seeks to diversify the income stream for the mill, by manufacturing sugar-based products needed for cocoa and chocolate production. Part of the grant will be used to help establish a cocoa processing factory.
Plummeting world sugar prices have encouraged the development of value-adding in Mossman Mill, through organic chocolate production and also the world’s first batch of low glycemic-index (GI) sugar, which could help people with diabetes.
Damage Mitigation Permits are processed by Queensland’s Environmental Protection Agency, after non-lethal strategies have shown to be unsuccessful, but the little-known prehensile-tailed rat has not been previously identified as a pest and neither has it been listed for its vulnerabilities.