Black Pod Thrust (BPT) - formed in 1990

Mission: To provide cocoa farmers with cost effective and sustainable control strategies for Phytophthora pod rot caused by P. megakarya, and other important fungal pathogens of cocoa

Objectives of BPT
Short term
  • To examine the technical and economic feasibility of using cultural and chemical methods for the management of Phytophthora pod rot (Ppr) and other fungal diseases.
Long term
  • To find cocoa material(s) resistant to Ppr.
  • To develop field effective biological control methods for the management of Ppr and other cocoa fungal diseases.

However, cocoa diseases other than Ppr are found on cocoa farms, and the thrust was therefore required to widen its scope to address these diseases and hence the Fungal Diseases Management Thrust (FDMT)

Major achievements
  • Provided technical backstopping to national programmes such as:
    • - Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control Programme (CODAPEC or Mass Spraying)
    • - National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme
    • - Sustainable Tree Crop Programme (STCP)
    • - Cocoa Abrabopa
    • - Cocoa link etc
  • In collaboration with the Sustainable Tree Crop Programme (STCP) and farmers, a farmer participatory video on black pod disease management was developed
  • Trained farmer field school (FFS) facilitators in agro-ecosystem analysis (AESA) which has increased farmers' knowledge of the cocoa crop and enhanced farmer-to-farmer knowledge diffusion on cocoa cultivation.
  • Educated farmers and extension personnel in the identification and management of cocoa diseases through radio programmes on national and local FM stations and visits to farmers' farms.
List of projects
  • Studies to determine the presence of metalaxyl resistant strains in P. megakarya.
  • Survey of Phytophthora isolates in Ghana.
  • Evaluation of fungicides for the control of black pod disease.
  • Studies on epidemiology of pink disease of cocoa and development of an effective management strategy
  • Studies on the incidence of Thread Blight Diseases (TBD) of cocoa and development of control measures.
  • The use of plant products as bio-fungicides for the control of important fungi on cocoa.
  • Studies on the effect of some plant oils and acetone extracts on growth and sporulation of cocoa Phytophthoras.
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Characterisation of CSSV isolates
  • Development of diagnostic tools for early detection of isolates
  • Development of molecular biology tools to explore the origin of CSSV/ Use the data generated in CSSV-resistance breeding programmes
Members of the thrust
Assuah M. K. (Leader) Mycologist
Akrofi A. Y. Mycologist
Amoako-Attah I. Mycologist
Sarfo J. E. Entomologist
Aneani F. Agric Economist
Mercy Asamoah Rural Sociologist
Alfred Arthur Soil Scientist