The Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) is a viral disease that affects cocoa production which was first reported in the 1930s in the Eastern Region and has since spread throughout the cocoa-growing regions in the country.
The government, realising the serious threat that the disease posed to the industry, set up the Cocoa Division as a Unit under the then Department of Agriculture to control the CSSVD and cocoa pests.
Also, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, on 24th September 2020 launched the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme at Sehwi Wiawso during his visit to the Western North Region, which is aimed at rehabilitating farms which have been affected by the CSSVD and rendered unproductive.
The programme, which had already been successfully piloted in some of the worst CSSVD-affected cocoa-growing areas, was expanded to all the cocoa-growing regions.
Because of the government’s commitment to fighting the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease, COCOBOD bears the full cost of the two-year-long rehabilitation process which involves the cutting of the diseased trees, treating the farms and replanting with disease-tolerant, early-bearing, high-yielding cocoa varieties.
COCOBOD also gives an amount of GH₵1,000.00 per hectare to each farmer who has been affected by the disease. In the case of tenancy, both affected tenant farmers and their landowners are compensated.
Despite all the efforts the disease keeps expanding in the Western North Region.
The Sehwi Bekwai Cocoa Health and Extension (CHED) officer, Frank Antwi Amamoo, and his entourage have visited some diseased farms in the Sehwi Wiawso area.
Speaking to Adom News’ Augustine Boah, Frank Amamoo, expressed worry about the rate at which the disease has taken over almost all the cocoa farms in the area. He disclosed that about 2,000 hectares of cocoa farmlands have been affected by the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD) at Sehwi Wiawso-Aboboyaa.
Hence, the Cocoa Health and Extension personnel in the area have decided to weed all the diseased cocoa trees and replant them. Indicating they have been in talks with the chiefs and residents of Sehwi Aboboyaa to allow their diseased cocoa farms to be rehabilitated.
Confirming the disease endemic in the area, Nana Adu Kwasi Batafo II, the chief of Sehwi Aboboyaa in the Sehwi Wiawso, said it has rendered their cocoa trees unproductive. According to Nana Adu Kwasi, they had more bags of cocoa in the area but since the CSSVD came to their province it has reduced their cocoa production drastically, rendering them poor.
He commended the government for introducing the cocoa rehabilitation programme to combat the disease from their farms. However, he urged the residents whose cocoa farms have been affected by the CSSVD to allow the cocoa health and extension officers to treat the disease.
George Gyapong, a beneficiary of the cocoa rehabilitation programme, also spoke to Adom News. He urged the owners of the diseased cocoa farms to give out their farms for treatment. George outlined the stimulus packages that the government has put in place for the farmer. He said treatment will also be done for free and likely the farmer will be paid every month in case they work on their farms.