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The Plant Pathology Division of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) is involved in research work on basic and practical aspects of disease management on GRIG mandated crops (cocoa, coffee, kola, shea and cashew). The mission of the Division is "to provide farmers with cost effective and environmentally friendly disease control strategies compatible with their resources in order to sustain production in disease infected areas".

The Division comprises the Virology and Mycology Sections.

Virology Section

The Virology Section deals mainly with virus diseases of cocoa. The main thrust of its activity is centred on the epidemiology and control of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD). The section has a museum containing a large collection of CSSV isolates, some of which cannot presently be found in the field. The activities of the section include:

  • Diagnosis of CSSVD using physical, serological, biochemical and molecular methods
  • Histochemical, cytopathological, biochemical and molecular studies of CSSV infected tissues
  • Studies on the use of CSSVD immune crops as barrier between infected cocoa farms and new establishments.
  • Evaluation of mild strain protection techniques for CSSVD control
  • Selection and breeding for cocoa varieties resistant/tolerant to the virus
  • Education and sensitisation of various stakeholders on the status of CSSVD and its management.
Collaboration

The Division collaborates with all the other scientific divisions at CRIG through the thrust system, other research institutions, universities, donor agencies in developing farmer-centred, cost-effective and environmentally friendly disease management strategies. The staff of the Plant Pathology Division is available to visiting farmers, extension agents, scientists and students to answer questions and queries on diseases and also arrange prompt visits to farmers' farms.

Mycology section

The Mycology Section deals with fungal diseases of CRIG mandated crops. Priority is given to the most important diseases of cocoa, Phytophthora pod rot (black pod disease) and canker. Attention is also given to other diseases that are of sporadic occurrence or are limited to some areas. The current research activities include:

  • Diagnosis of diseased samples originating from farmers' farms and experimental plots to confirm the cause of disease.
  • Studies on the epidemiology of diseases leading to development of effective management strategies.
  • Investigations into cultural, chemical and biological methods of disease control.
  • Laboratory screening and field evaluation for biological activity of fungicides, and subsequent recommendation of effective fungicides to farmers. The recommendations, specifying the name of fungicide, active ingredients, rate, frequency and time of application are published in technical bulletins, annual reports, Cocoa farmers' newspapers and scientific journals.
  • Testing of spray equipments for physical attributes which facilitate good coverage, penetration and re-distribution of fungicides.
  • Studies on pre- and post-harvest fungal spoilage of cocoa beans, coffee berries, shea, cashew and kola nuts.
  • Developing screening methods for resistance to diseases and use of these methods to screen germplasm in breeding programmes.
  • Studies on mistletoes and other parasitic plants of CRIG mandated crops
  • Education and sensitisation of stakeholders on diseases and their control.
Collaboration

The Division collaborates with all the other scientific divisions at CRIG through the thrust system, other research institutions, universities, donor agencies in developing farmer-centred, cost-effective and environmentally friendly disease management strategies. The staff of the Plant Pathology Division is available to visiting farmers, extension agents, scientists and students to answer questions and queries on diseases and also arrange prompt visits to farmers' farms.