Story: Samuel Duodu, Krakrom
THE Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) Management Committee of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has held a rally for 400 cocoa farmers drawn from seven cocoa-growing villages at Krakrom, near Nkrankwanta in the Dormaa Municipality.
The day's rally was aimed at educating the cocoa farmers on the symptoms, mode of spread and control of swollen shoot.
The participants came from Amadukrom, Ntensere, Yawusukrom, Nyamebekyere, Appiakrom, Yanbediagro, Koofiekrom, Kwame-Yeboakrom and Krakrom.
The Executive Director of the committee, Mr F. E. Nsiah, reminded the farmers that the only available antidote to the swollen shoot menace was to cut down the infected trees and their adjacent contact trees to avoid further spread.
Mr Nsiah noted that COCOBOD was leaving no stone unturned to encourage cocoa farmers across the country to plant cocoa genotypes, which were resistant to the swollen shoot.
He said for now the most tolerant progenies being supplied to farmers were the inter-upper Amazon hybrids.
The executive director advised cocoa farmers to create cordons of at least 10 metres, made up of cash crops immune to the swollen shoot virus, such as citrus and oil palm, between new cocoa establishments and existing plantings.
Mr Nsiah also entreated the farmers to form co-operative societies to enable them to have easy access to financial assistance from the government and financial institutions.
The Dormaa Municipal Cocoa Officer, Mr Emmanuel Nii-Arku, took the farmers through the symptoms peculiar to the various stages of the swollen shoot.
He said the disease manifested itself in reddening cocoa leaves, swellings at the nodes and internodes and induced swelling on roots of the cocoa trees.
A spokesperson for the farmers, Nana Bio-Agyemang, suggested to the government to give all farmers whose cocoa farms were affected by swollen shoot the necessary financial support to rehabilitate their farms.
The Odikro of Krakrom, Nana L. Y. Adomah, appealed to the committee to consider the establishment of a one-stop cocoa nursery in the area from where farmers could be supplied with seedlings free of charge.