GHANA, COTE D’IVOIRE LAUNCH JOINT CONTROL PROGRAMME AGAINST SWOLLEN SHOOT DISEASE

ACCRA– Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have taken a major step to tackle the spread of the Swollen Shoot Viral Diseases (CSSVD) on cocoa farms with the launch of a joint control programme in the two neighbouring countries which are the world’s second biggest and top cocoa-producing countries respectively.

Thursday’s official launch, which took place at Pillar 34, a border town in Bia West District of Ghana’s Western Region (Province), was to re-affirm the commitment of the two governments to address the prevalence of the disease which undermines high cocoa yields in both countries.

The programme will involve the cutting down of all infected trees in cocoa farmlands in the two West African nations.

Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), said at the ceremony that Ghana was going to cut trees on about 680,000 hectares of cocoa farmlands, representing either diseased, over-aged or dying cocoa trees in the country.

Aidoo said the invasive vector-transmitted disease which has no remedy, has destroyed farmlands for far too long and it is time the two countries take stringent measures to curb its spread across farms.

He said COCOBOD, with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), will assist the affected cocoa farmers to replant their farms with new, high-yielding and disease-resistant varieties.

Ghana will soon cut about 10,000 hectares of infected trees before the disbursement of the funds from the bank. He stressed the need for farmers to embrace the exercise to ensure increased cocoa production to enhance their incomes.

Kone Brahma, the Director General of Cocoa and Coffee (CCC) in Cote D’Ivoire, said the two countries needed to strengthen efforts to prevent the continuous spread of diseases. Noting that the two countries produced about 60 per cent of the world’s total cocoa, he said it was imperative they carried out such a programme to continue to stay on top in cocoa production.

Kone said Cote d’Ivoire was also going to cut down more than 100,000 hectares of infected cocoa farms, under the programme.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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