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Agroforestry systems can mitigate the severity of cocoa swollen shoot virus disease

Andres, Christian; Blaser, Wilma J.; Dzahini-Obiatey, Henry K.; Ameyaw, George A.; Domfeh, Owusu K.; Awiagah, Moses A.; Gattinger, Andreas; Schneider, Monika; Offei, Samuel K. and Six, Johan (2018) Agroforestry systems can mitigate the severity of cocoa swollen shoot virus disease. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 252, pp. 83-92.

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Summary

Currently, the only effective treatment for cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) infected with the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD) is to cut and replant infected trees. Hence, the development of preventive control measures and strategies to mitigate the severity of the disease are of utmost importance. While past research has mainly focused on resistance breeding, mild strain cross protection and vector control, diversification measures such as agroforestry have received relatively less attention, despite their potential to mitigate CSSVD severity.
Therefore, we studied the effects of shade on CSSVD symptom severity, capsid damage and cocoa yield along a gradient of increasing shade tree abundance in smallholder cocoa farms in Ghana. Furthermore, we measured photosynthetic active radiation and assessed soil fertility in order to elaborate on potential causal factors for possible shade effects on CSSVD symptom severity. Both CSSVD symptom severity and cocoa yields followed quadratic curves, and were found to be lowest and highest in plots with 54% and 39% shade, respectively. The simulated optimal shade levels for CSSVD symptom severity and cocoa yield overlapped between 45%–53%, indicating that agroforestry systems with around 50% shade cover may be an optimal coping strategy to balance CSSVD symptom severity versus reduced cocoa yield until diseased cocoa is replaced with more resistant varieties. Furthermore, our results suggest that rather than soil fertility, high-light and possibly also soil moisture stress may have been responsible for the shade effects on CSSVD symptom severity.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Theobroma cacao, Cocoa swollen shoot virus disease, Agroforestry, High-light stress, Soil fertility, Yield, Department of International Cooperation, Agroforestry systems, FiBL65128
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Africa
Research affiliation:Other countries
Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International Cooperation
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/projectdatabase/projectitem/project/963.html
Deposited By: Andres, Christian
ID Code:32272
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 11:43
Last Modified:09 Nov 2017 11:43
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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