Rally on cocoa swollen shoot virus disease held

The Eastern Regional Secretariat of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD), on Friday held a rally at Akyem Apinamang in the Kwaebibirim District to educate farmers on the devastating nature of the disease and how to get rid of it.

The occasion was also used to educate the farmers on best farming practices to maximize production.

Mr Francis Antwi Adjei, Regional Manager of the CSSVD, told the farmers that the disease, which was first detected by a farmer at Nankese in the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District, has no known cure.

He said the only cure for the disease, which could spread from one cocoa farm to another, was to cut down the affected trees.

Mr Adjei indicated that if the disease affected a cocoa farm and it was not detected early, the farmer could apply as much fertilizer as possible but would not get a good yield.

He said the yield would be getting smaller year by year until all the cocoa trees would eventually die after five years.

Mr Adjei expressed worry about reported cases of some farmers whose farms had been infected by the virus but who opposed the cutting down of their affected  cocoa trees.

He appealed to all farmers to report to the office when they detected cases of the disease on their cocoa trees for the secretariat to hire chainsaw operators to cut down the affected trees.

Mr Adjei indicated that farmers whose  trees had been cut down would be paid compensation and  supplied with hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge for re- planting, and gave the assurance that the replanted trees will start bearing fruits within two to three years.

Ms Grace Badu, Regional Rehabilitation Officer, said under a cocoa rehabilitation scheme introduced by the government, cocoa trees beyond 30 years would be cut down and the farmers given adequate amount of seedlings for re-planting.

She said the farmers would also be given other tree seedling such as odum and plantain suckers to plant alongside the cocoa seedlings.

Ms Badu appealed to cocoa farmers with over-aged farms to weed their farms before the exercise takes-off.

Source: GNA

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