Ghanaian varsity develops application to combat cocoa diseases and pests

GHANA – The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Ghana has developed a new mobile application dubbed COCOANET that aims to help combat cocoa diseases and pests.

Developed by a group of students from UMaT, the mobile application will help farmers and field staff to identify various diseases and pests which attack cocoa plants.

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This will facilitate the application of the appropriate remedy to the affected cocoa and reduce costs incurred in the treatment of cocoa farms.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Asiedu, most cocoa diseases go unnoticed or are rather detected at a time when huge devastations have already occurred.

Asiedu said that the introduction of the application would help ensure a more effective response to extension services, adding that the application is controlled to cater for farmers who cannot reach out to agricultural extension officers for assistance.

The group will be collaborating with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCBOD) in using the technology for the advancement of Ghana’s cocoa sector.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo commended the students for the initiative saying that it will help improve the local cocoa economy in particular and world cocoa industry as a whole.

“This is novelty that couldn’t have come at a better time considering the challenges the cocoa sector is currently facing in dealing with the disease and pests menace.

“COCOBOD is highly interested in the development of this application to its logical conclusion,” he added.

He charged the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, a subsidiary of COCOBOD to work closely with UMaT to develop and scale up the application for the advancement of the cocoa sector.

The mobile application which was developed by Five students who emerged as the best innovative minds during the 5th Innovation and Career fair organized by the University of Mines and Technology earlier this year.

When fully developed it will be available on android and all i0S platforms and will also be providing both text and audio formats to cocoa farmers.

The development further strengthens COCOBOD’s bid to combat the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease after it recently agreed to collaborate with Volcani Centre of Israel in a scientific research that seeks to eliminate the disease.

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