Traditional leaders must help control cocoa disease

cocoa spraying

Mr. Seidu Mahama, the Suhum Municipal Best Farmer for 2015, has urged traditional authorities to help educate cocoa farmers to allow cocoa trees infested with the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease to be cut down and replanted.

Mr. Seidu stated that the affected farmers would be adequately compensated for by the Government, if they agreed to the remedial measures.

The Municipal Best Farmer made the call when he addressed a meeting of some farmers near Kwamekyere, to educate them on the disease, among other issues.

Other prominent cocoa farmers delivered lectures on Rehabilitation of Cocoa Farms, Child Labour, and the Sale and Application of Fertilisers.

The Best Farmer noted that if the affected cocoa trees were not cut down, the disease could infest other farms and the newly planted trees in their environs, saying, the situation could reduce the national yield.

Dr. Seidu warned that poor fermentation and drying of cocoa beans were negatively affecting the quality of the country’s cocoa on the world market, saying that: “If the trend is not changed, Ghana’s cocoa beans would lose its value on the world market”.

According to an online research report, the virus decreases the yield of the tree within the first year of infection and kills the plant within a few years.

The virus is said to be transmitted from tree to tree by mealybug vectors.

Ghana reportedly first discovered the disease in 1936, but is now endemic in Togo and Nigeria.

More than 200 million trees, according to the report have already been claimed by this disease.

There have been numerous measure over the years to eliminate the viral plant disease.

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