The Ashanti regional office of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD Control Unit of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has identified the outbreak of the cocoa swollen shoot disease in some communities in the Amansie West District of Ashanti and said the situation had affected cocoa production in the area.
The communities include Ahwerewa, Esaase-Bontefufuo, Aboabo-Tetekaaso, Tetrem and Kwabenakrom.
Mr Samuel Gyimah-Gyamfi, Deputy Ashanti Regional Manager of the CSSVD Control Unit, announced this at a day's swollen shoot disease control sensitisation rally organized for 200 farmers at Esaase-Bontefufuo in the Amansie West District on Tuesday.
The rally aimed at educating farmers on the disease to enable them to report such cases to the Unit for necessary action to be taken.
He said the disease caused by a virus affected cocoa trees causing defoliation, low yield and eventual death of the tree.
Mr Gyimah-Gyamfi described some of its symptoms as light yellowish and deep-red coloration along the veins and midribs of the leaf, small rounded pods and swellings on the shoots at the branches and roots.
He explained that the only remedy was to uproot the infested cocoa trees from the farm.
He announced that the CSSVD Control Unit would assist farmers to replant treated farms with improved cocoa varieties, which were high yielding, disease-tolerant and early bearing as well as paying them compensation.
Mr Gyimah-Gyamfi appealed to farmers whose farms had been identified to be infested with the disease to co-operate with the Unit in its efforts to control the disease.
Mr E Osei-Boakye, Amansie West District Officer of the CSSVD Control Unit, said the Unit had drawn a programme to tour all the districts to educate the farmers on the disease to help improve cocoa production.
Mr Alex Mensah, District Chief Farmer, stressed the need for farmers to rehabilitate their farms at all times to improve their incomes and livelihood.
Nana Osei Assibey, chief of Esaase-Bontefufuo, who chaired the rally, said most of the equipment used in the spraying of cocoa farms had broken down and appealed to the government to provide new ones to ensure the success of the mass cocoa spraying exercise in the area.