The Ghana Cocoa Board has revised downwards by 16% the 2019/2020 cocoa crop target from 950,000 metric tonnes to 850,000 metric tonnes this season.
The downward review is due to the swollen-shoot virus which has affected many farms in the Western North region.
Over 200,000 metric tonnes of cocoa has already been lost to the disease in the region which produces close to one-third of the country’s cocoa. .
Currently, farmers manage the virus by chopping down, burning and replacing trees which show symptoms despite having little effect in containing the disease, which is spread by tiny white insects called mealybugs.
Swollen-shoot is unique to West Africa, where about three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is cultivated.
The disease was identified nearly a century ago, yet scientists say a cure is years away and early detection methods are only just being introduced.
The outbreak in the world’s second largest producer of the crop after Ivory Coast is renewing urgency to find a solution.
Cocoa is the backbone of the economy, which rakes in billions of dollars annually and supports the currency against depreciation.
By Solomon Wiredu|3news.com|Ghana