UMaT collaborates with COCOBOD to combat cocoa diseases and pests

Accra, Aug. 13,
GNA – The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa is collaborating
with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to use mobile technology to help combat diseases
and pests that affect cocoa production in the country.

The mobile
application dubbed COCOANET was developed by a group of students of UMaT to,
among others, help farmers and field staff identify (diagnose) various diseases
and pests which attack cocoa plants.

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

A delegation
from UMaT, led by Professor Jerry S.Y. Kuma, Vice Chancellor, was in Cocoa
House, Accra to discuss how best the two institutions could better develop the
application for the advancement of Ghana’s cocoa sector.

Mr Emmanuel
Asiedu, who made the presentation on behalf of the students, many cocoa
diseases go unnoticed or are rather detected at a time when huge devastations
have already occurred.

He said 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 speak English to reach out to agricultural extension
officers for assistance.

Professor Kuma,
commenting on the presentation, said it is imperative to present the idea to
COCOBOD as the regulator of the cocoa industry to help address the effect of
diseases and pests on low yields.

Mr Joseph
Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, commended the students for the
initiative and the University for providing the platform for the student to
exhibit their entrepreneurial potential.

He said the
move would 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”,
he said.

Mr Aidoo said
though the application sought to address some of these challenges, it should be
carefully worked on to enable it meet the purpose for which it was developed.

“We embrace it.
COCOBOD is highly interested in the development of this application to its logical
conclusion. We can assure you of our maximum support to ensure that this
becomes a success”, he stressed.

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 was developed by five students who emerged as the best innovative
minds during the 5
th Innovation and Career fair organized by the University of Mines and
Technology in April, 2019.

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

GNA

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