September 20, 2018

GEPA seeks collaboration for spraying & pruning of cashew & mango farms

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Madam Afua Asabea Asare recently called on the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo.

The visit was to discuss areas of collaboration and assistance in the spraying and pruning of mango and cashew farms to mitigate the effects of disease infestation and improve crop yield.

According to Madam Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of GEPA, this has become necessary because farmers of these crops are recording low volumes of produce due to the prevalent Bacterial Black Spot disease infestation.

This disease was first reported in the country around 2012 and has since and continues to destroy produce from tree-crop farmers especially mango and cashew farmers.

The Bacterial Black Spot (BBS) disease Madam Asare noted attacks mango and other tree crops including cashew and citrus,weakening the branches and causing significant damage to the fruit.

Madam Asare further stated that desperate farmers in a bid to maintain their mango and cashew plantations have resorted to spraying various kinds of agro-chemicals including unapproved ones to curb the infestation to no avail, but rather end up depositing high chemical residue in the fruits making it unfit for exports and threatening the health of unsuspecting local consumers.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo stated that due to fungal infestation of cocoa trees, “COCOBOD has since last year embarked on an intensified spraying and pruning exercise in cocoa farming districts and the exercise has resulted in increased yield from 3-4bags per acre to over twenty (20)bags per acre in areas that were sprayed and pruned”.

Responding to GEPA’s request for assistance, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo assured the delegation, he will request scientists from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to visit the mango farms that have been affected by the diseases to determine the cause of the infestation and recommend best ways to treat the infestation.

Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo requested GEPA to check with the cashew farmers to ascertain appropriate periods for spraying and pruning cashew farms to see if it would coincide with their cocoa farms spraying and pruning period of April and March 2019.

Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo added that COCOBOD is considering mass production of shea hopefully in 2019, after successful trial domestication of the crop, and the tackling of Fungi infestation, control of diseases and irrigation prior to planting of the fruit.

He mentioned that the institution will stop the spraying and pruning exercise after two years and give private companies the opportunity to offer their services to farmers at their own expense.

This decision Hon. Boahen Aidoo said will be based on significant increases in cocoa yields following the programmes outlined.

 

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