GHANA – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Volcani Centre of Israel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a scientific research collaboration that seeks to eliminate the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD).

Under the agreement, scientists from the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIG), the scientific research wing of COCOBOD, will join forces will the Volcani Centre on the various processes aimed at finding solutions to the Swollen Short disease.

The two institutions will further work together on ways to improve cocoa farm yields in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner a report by GhanaWeb reveals. 

The MOU was signed today by the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo and Professor Eli Fenerman of Volcani Centre at a ceremony at the Volcani Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The success of the collaborative scientific research is expected to have far-reaching implications on cocoa production in the entire subregion of cocoa producing countries that have been struggling to meet annual production targets as a result of the effects of the disease.

According to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease has since its discovery in 1936 in the Eastern Region of Ghana been a major constraint to cocoa production.

Professor Eli Fenerman said the Centre has collaborated with a lot of institutions to find solutions to problems in agriculture and he believes this collaboration will definitely help improve cocoa productivity in order to sustain the chocolate industry.

The collaboration between COCOBOD and the Volcani Centre goes beyond the search for a remedy to CSSVD and an effective control of the disease vector.

The scientists will also join forces and research ways of optimizing cocoa nutrition, irrigation and pollination as well as improving cocoa seedling health and resilience via biochar solutions in nurseries and during planting.

They will focus some attention on creating integrated pest management solutions for the control of pests as well as develop climate and pest resilient cocoa strains with favourable flavouring and health profiles.

Other subjects of mutual interest such as integrated shade/irrigation solutions, post-harvest processing and storage, reduction of post-harvest loses also form part of the collaboration.