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Social network to inform and prevent the spread of cocoa swollen shoot virus disease in Ghana

Andres, Christian; Hoerler, Raphael; Home, Robert; Jeorin, Jonas; Dzahini-Obiatey, Henry K.; Ameyaw, George A.; Domfeh, Owusu; Blaser, Wilma J.; Gattinger, Andreas; Offei, Samuel K. and Six, Johan (2018) Social network to inform and prevent the spread of cocoa swollen shoot virus disease in Ghana. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 38:53, pp. 1-11.

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Document available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-018-0538-y


The cocoa swollen shoot virus disease is a major factor limiting cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) productivity for West African farmers. The only treatment against this disease is to cut infected trees and replant with disease-free planting material. Research has recommended the prevention measures: (i) cordon sanitaire (leaving 10-m-wide cocoa-free zone around cocoa), (ii) barrier cropping, (iii) using partly tolerant hybrids, and (iv) removing specific alternative host tree species. Here, we evaluate the current adoption of these measures and identify their adoption constraints. We conducted a quantitative survey with 396 farmers in the Eastern and Western Regions of Ghana, held six focus group discussions and hosted a multi-stakeholder validation workshop with 31 key actors in the cocoa value chain. Our results indicate that the adoption of prevention measure against the disease remains limited. Farmers with a more extensive social network (number of family members/close friends who already adopted a particular measure), a larger farm size, more secure land tenure rights, and more knowledge about the measures were more likely to adopt them, especially barrier cropping, hybrid seedlings, and removing alternative host trees. Lack of knowledge about the measures was the single biggest barrier for their adoption, with 51% of the participating farmers not even being aware of any prevention measures. Here, we show for the first time that the social network is the main information source for farmers, which agrees with the finding that the flow of information between farmers and other stakeholders is a critical factor affecting knowledge spread and consequently adoption. Our results provide crucial insights for the elaboration of an implementation action plan to boost the dissemination of feasible prevention measures against the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease in Ghana in order to efficiently cover farmers’ needs for information (technical advice) and inputs (access to hybrid seedlings).

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Theobroma cacao, Cocoa swollen shoot virus disease, Cordon sanitaire, Barrier cropping, Hybrids, Adoption, Social network, Knowledge, Farm size, Land tenure, Department of international Cooperation, Agroforestry Systems
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 > Agroforestry Systems
Germany > University of Gießen
ISSN:1774-0746 (Print) 1773-0155 (Online)
DOI:DOI: 10.1007/s13593-018-0538-y
Deposited By: Andres, Christian
ID Code:33936
Deposited On:04 Oct 2018 12:01
Last Modified:27 Jan 2023 09:18
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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