Ghana and La Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday took a major step to tackle the spread of the Swollen Shoot Viral Diseases (CSSVD), on cocoa farms with the joint launch of a control programme in the two neighbouring countries.
The event, which took place at Pillar 34, a border town in the Bia West District of the Western Region, was to reaffirm the commitment of the governments of the two largest cocoa producing countries in the world to address the prevalence of the disease undermining the high cocoa yields in both countries.
It will involve the cutting down of all infected trees in various cocoa farmlands in the two West African nations.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD, speaking at the launch, said Ghana was going to cut about 680,000 hectares of cocoa farmlands.
This, he said, represented about 40 per cent of diseased, over-aged or dying cocoa trees in the country.
Mr 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 took stringent measures to curb its spread across farms.
He said COCOBOD through the support of the African Development Bank, is going to assist the affected cocoa farmers to replant their farms with new high yielding and disease resistant varieties.
The Chief Executive said Ghana would 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 and enhance their incomes.
Mr Kone Brahma, the Director General of Cocoa and Coffee (CCC) in Cote D’Ivoire, said Ghana and his country, needed to strengthen efforts to prevent the continuous spread of the diseases.
He said the two countries produced about 60 per cent of the world’s total cocoa and it is imperative for them to carry out such a programme to continue to stay on top in cocoa production.
Mr Kone said Cote d’Ivoire was also going to cut down over 100,000 hectares of infected cocoa farms, under the programme.