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Business News of Monday, 31 July 2017

Source: Luv FM

Scientists warn of looming mango bacterial black spot disease

The disease has been reported in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region The disease has been reported in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region

There is a looming epidemic of Bacterial Black Spot disease in Ghana, according to leading scientists.

Already the disease has been reported in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Bacterial Black Spot disease, often referred to as BBS, attacks mango and other trees weakens their branches and causes cankers on fruits and premature fruit drop.

The disease is named after the black spot marks, which develop first on leaves and then spread on fruits.

A Plant Pathologist at Crop Research Institute, Atta Kwesi Aidoo, says once the disease breaks out in an area, it spreads very fast and can destroy an entire mango plantation.

He warns BBS is now a major threat to mango plantations in Ghana.

A Mycologist at Crop Research Institute, Mrs Zippora Appiah-Kubi, revealed the disease has been detected in some parts of the country in the last seven years.

“In Ghana, it was first detected in Tamale in 2010. Since then, the disease has been spreading southwards.

In 2012, it was identified in the Brong Ahafo Region where it has been reported that about 70% of the total acreage under mango cultivation have been affected.” She said.

The disease has continued its southward journey and has reached Dodowa and Somanya in the Eastern region in 2015.

“Farmers should check for the symptoms of the disease in other mango growing areas in the southern sector and report same to the CSIR-CRI,” she advised.

Responding to the outbreak in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region, a team of Scientists led by Godfried Ohene-Mensah of the Plant Health Division of CSIR-CRI took 32 mango farmers through the management practice for effective BBS control.

The Kintampo Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr McLawrence Ahiadu, lamented mango farmers in the municipality have been thronging his outfit since the outbreak. The CSIR-CRI has recommended the use of disease-free seedlings available at the facility.

CSIR-CRI says manual preventive measures like good hygiene, proper pruning of affected branches and use of copper-based fungicides are appropriate management strategies.

Government’s effort to get the disease under control is very critical, that is according to Samuel Effah Nimoh, secretary of Kintampo Mango Farmers Association.

He appeals for subsidization of the chemicals used for fighting the disease.