COCOBOD, MEDA Commit to Eradicating Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has partnered the Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA) to control the spread of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) among cocoa trees.
The partnership seeks to tackle the disease to improve cocoa production in the country.
Dr Emmanuel Nii Tackie-Otoo, Head of Cocoa Health and Extension Division, COCOBOD, said CSSD had serious effects of cocoa production in the country, adding that concerted efforts was needed to curb the disease.
Currently, 315, 000 hectares of cocoa land are infected with the disease, with 67 percent of the total of 17 percent of cocoa trees being at the Western North Region.
He said the disease had no ‘medicinal’ treatment to sustain infected trees, other than cutting off those trees and applying aboriside to control the spread.
Dr. Tackie-Otoo said over the years the COCOBOD had difficulties getting the right technology to undertake trees uprooting, adding that, the Board per its review of the process had developed accurate mechanisms to control the disease.
He said they would recruit more labourers from the communities to do the replanting, as well as continuous engagement with farmers in treating the disease.
Dr. Tackie-Otoo said a pilot phase had been undertaken, cutting down of 7,000 hectares of infected cocoa farmlands, 6,000 in the Western North and 1,000 hectares in the Eastern Region, and had replanted 2,000 of them in the Western North Region.
He said they established technical processes before the replanting to make sure farmlands are completely treated of the disease infection.
Mr. Robert Austin, County Director of MEDA, a Canadian development organisation, said they were committed to helping increase cocoa production in the country.
He said their support was in two parts, to support the sensitisation of farmers on the disease and its treatment as well as support the replanting of trees with improved seedlings.
He said MEDA would be undertaking capacity building and sensitisation programme to cover nearly 30, 000 farmers.
“The planned capacity building programme is a focused initiative which will use media broadcast campaigns and interactive voice response training to sensitise and educate farmers,” he said.
Mr. Austin said: “MEDA has made the determination that we could make the greatest impact through collaborative relationships and partnerships with COCOBOD to help increase production, to reduce the shortfall in the supply, of its certified hybrid cocoa seeds to farmers.”