UMaT to Collaborate with Cocobod to Combat Cocoa Diseases and Pests

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A Group Picture of the UMaT Team with the CEO of Cocobod
A Group Picture of the UMaT Team with the CEO of Cocobod

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 Ghana. This was made known at a short ceremony to present the project that won the 5th UMaT Innovation and Career Fair to the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo and his team of Scientists at the Cocoa House, Accra. The delegation from UMaT was led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma. The discussions centred on how best the two institutions could better develop the mobile application for the advancement of Ghana’s cocoa industry.

The mobile application is christened COCOANET and was developed by a group of students from UMaT to, among other things, help farmers and field staff to identify various diseases and pests which attack cocoa plants. This will facilitate the application of the appropriate remedy to the affected cocoa tree or pod and reduce costs incurred in the treatment of the cocoa farms.

According to Mr Emmanuel Asiedu who made the presentation on behalf of the students, most cocoa diseases go unnoticed or are rather detected at a time when 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. Prof Kuma, commenting on the presentation, explained that it was imperative to present the idea to COCOBOD as the regulator of the cocoa industry to help address the effects of diseases and pests which are the reasons for low yields in the sector.

The Audience Listening Attentively to the Presentation
The Audience Listening Attentively to the Presentation

Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo was full of praise for 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 the 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 added.

Hon Aidoo acknowledged that, 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 emphasised. 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.

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office

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