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Business News of Monday, 15 November 2021


20% of cocoa-growing areas affected by swollen shoot virus – COCOBOD

Swollen shoot affects the yields of cocoa trees Swollen shoot affects the yields of cocoa trees

• Ghana plans to increase production of cocoa to 1.5m metric tonnes

• US$600 million loan secured to tackle swollen shoot virus in cocoa-growing areas

• 20% of cocoa-growing areas affected by swollen shoot virus

Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo has revealed that some 20 percent of cocoa-growing areas have been plagued by the swollen shoot virus.

The virus can be described as a plant pathogenic virus of the family Caulimoviridae that infects cocoa trees and decreases its chances of yield with the first year of infection and also kills the trees within a few years.

Addressing participants at an event to mark the Cocoa Day of the Netherlands Embassy, COCOBOD Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen, said the persistent impact of the swollen shoot virus led to low productivity and incomes for cocoa farmers.

“The cocoa industry has been plagued with the devastating impact of the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease. Close to 20 percent of the productive cocoa area in the country has been affected by this disease. This has led to low productivity and low incomes for cocoa farmers,” he continued.

“We are working to rehabilitate all devastated areas including overaged cocoa farms. The signal then is that in the medium term, Ghana is likely to move to 1.5 metric tonnes of cocoa and if that is going to happen, it means that service providers have to expand their base,” he added.

As a result of the swollen shoot virus affecting cocoa-growing areas, Ghana has been producing below 800,000 metric tonnes of cocoa. Already, some 12 strains of the swollen shoot virus have been identified by the Cocoa Research Institute.

These strains according to the institute span across the Western Region and its adjoining areas in the Bono and Ahafo Regions and other parts of the country.

To tackle the menace, the Ghana Cocoa Board has secured a loan facility of US$600 million from a consortium of financial institutions led by the African Development Bank spanning seven years.

The loan facility is to among other things address pertinent issues within the cocoa sector.

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