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Ghana & Cote D'Ivoire Launch CSSVD Control Programme   
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Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire have launched a joint action to step up efforts at fighting the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease -CSSVD at Pilla 34 and Manzanouan , both towns at the Ghana-Cote D'Ivoire border.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo disclosed that about 40% of Ghana’s cocoa tree stock was unproductive posing serious economic threat to the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and the country as a whole.

According to him, out of this, 17% is diseased while 23 % is muribund and over-aged.

Hon. Boahen Aidoo further stated that the Western and Eastern Regions were so far the most endermic regions with approximately 68% infection rate.

Hon Aidoo said the situation was very alarming and required aggressive steps to control the spread of the disease in cocoa farms.

The Ghana Cocoa Board Chief Executive said the decision by the previous government to let cocoa farmers cut and treat their diseased farms on their own some years ago did very little in combating the menace thereby contributing to the extensive outbreak of the disease in the country.

He explained that the Western Region which so far is the leading producer of cocoa in the country could not be allowed to be seriously threatened by the CSSVD.

Describing the spread as a National Disaster, Hon Aidoo said the best form of treatment is cutting infected farms and applying aboricides to eliminate the virus.

To this effect, he announced a new scheme which will provide equipment to enhance the treatment and also announced incentive package for farmers and landlords during the implementation process to enable them cope with the loss of income during the exercise.

He further also said staff of COCOBOD had been trained with requisite expertise to cut identified farms adding that for the start, a total of 10,000 hectares of infected cocoa farm out of a total of about 680,000 hectares of infected farms will be treated.

He was encouraged cocoa farmers to support extension officers to assist them treat their farms.

Speaking on why the joint action between Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire in launching the programme, Hon Aidoo explained that the presidents of both countries sanctioned the initiative in a back-to-back approach to combat the swollen shoot virus disease which has become a cross border issue.

He added that since the two countries control about 60% of the global cocoa stock there is urgent need for collaboration.

He again said both countries have in recent times stepped up efforts to cooperate in the areas of technical and joint actions to promote sustainable cocoa economy adding this is one of the major concrete steps to protect the fortunes of the cash crop.

The Director General of the Le Conseil du cafe and Cacao M. Kone Ibrahima speaking on behalf of the Ivorian government and cocoa farmers lauded the joint initiative and said the cooperation was necessary to sustain the cocoa industry.

He added that about 100,000 hectares of infected farms in Cote D'Ivoire have earmarked for cutting and called on the security personnel, farmers and chiefs to help in the control of CSSVD which has become a major issue affecting cocoa production in both countries.

Later, a joint demonstration exercise on the processes involved in the CSSVD control was done by trained operators from countries at two separate infected farms to symbolize the official launch by both countries.

Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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