Ghana loses over 500,000 Hectares of Cocoa farms to Swollen Shoot disease

While recognising the gravity of the challenge, Mr Aidoo also offered some assurances, indicating that measures have been put in place and continue to be implemented to address the issue.

Mr Aidoo made this disclosure during a panel discussion at a partnership meeting of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) in Amsterdam, where he shed light on the multifaceted challenges confronting cocoa production in Ghana.

In addition to CSSVD, Mr Aidoo highlighted the detrimental impacts of illegal mining and climate change, which further exacerbate the decline in cocoa productivity and pose a great threat to the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

The unregulated mining industry is causing deforestation, soil degradation, and water pollution, all of which are negatively affecting the growth of cocoa trees, he said. Coupled with this menace is climate change which is having a devastating effect on cocoa trees, which are highly sensitive to temperature and weather patterns.

The rise in temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, and prolonged droughts are affecting tree growth and reducing their output, he added.

Mr Aidoo said to address to CSSVD challenge COCOBOD instituted the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme in 2018 to halt the spread of the disease, restore unproductive farms and ultimately improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers.

The rehabilitation programme involves identifying diseased farms, cutting down affected trees, replanting with disease-resistant cocoa varieties, compensating affected farmers, and promoting good agricultural practices.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD also stressed the importance of securing sustainable incomes for cocoa farmers, underscoring the Living Income Differential (LID) and the recent significant hikes in Ghana’s Producer Price for cocoa farmers as crucial advancements in this regard.

Nevertheless, he underscored the need for a collective commitment across the industry to prioritize the sustainable incomes of cocoa farmers, backed by concrete action to ensure its realisation.

The Director General of Conseil du Café Cacao, Mr Yves Brahima Koné, also touched on the major threat that CSSVD poses to West African cocoa production.

He urged the industry to show immediate commitment to addressing this issue, emphasizing that failure to do so could result in the industry succumbing to these challenges.

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