The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has raised alarm over the severe impact of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Viral Disease (CSSVD), disclosing that more than 500,000 hectares of cocoa farms in Ghana have succumbed to the disease.
This revelation poses a significant threat to the country’s cocoa production.
During a panel discussion at a World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) partnership meeting in Amsterdam, Mr. Aidoo acknowledged the gravity of the challenge.
However, he offered assurances that comprehensive measures have been implemented to tackle the CSSVD issue and prevent further devastation.
In addition to CSSVD, Mr Aidoo emphasised the adverse effects of illegal mining and climate change on cocoa production in Ghana.
The unregulated mining industry is causing deforestation, soil degradation, and water pollution, negatively impacting cocoa tree growth.
Climate change, with rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, and prolonged droughts, is further compromising cocoa tree health and reducing output.
To combat the CSSVD challenge, COCOBOD initiated the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme in 2018.
This program aims to halt the spread of the disease, restore unproductive farms, and enhance the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
Activities under the rehabilitation program include identifying diseased farms, cutting down affected trees, replanting with disease-resistant cocoa varieties, compensating affected farmers, and promoting good agricultural practices.
Mr Aidoo underscored the significance of ensuring sustainable incomes for cocoa farmers, citing initiatives like the Living Income Differential (LID) and recent substantial increases in Ghana’s Producer Price for cocoa farmers as crucial steps forward.
Despite these efforts, Mr. Aidoo stressed the necessity for a collective commitment across the industry to prioritize the sustainable incomes of cocoa farmers, backed by concrete actions to ensure their realization.
The Director General of Conseil du Café Cacao, Mr. Yves Brahima Koné, echoed concerns about the significant threat CSSVD poses to West African cocoa production.