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Cord Farmers’ Strategies And Replanting Performance In A Context Of Coconut Lethal Yellowing Disease Along The Coastal Region In Ghana

A survey made in the coastal belt of Ghana resulted in some valuable knowledge of farmers strategies and practices to reduce the disease's impact at the farm level. This study was carried out in 2003 and 2004 on around twenty five farms involved in the replanting programme of the Coconut Sector Development Project in 4 districts of the Western and Central Regions of Ghana.


                  The diversity of cropping situations encountered in the programme offered a wide scope for opportunity diagnoses to identify, describe and understand what determines farmer practices. It also permits to assess and compare both the agronomic and economic efficiency of such smallholder practices under diversified environmental conditions.


Intercrops provide food and worthwhile income, particularly when vegetable crops are involved. The success of the intercrops often goes hand in hand with satisfactory coconut palm growth, but successive cycles of exhausting crops such as cassava, without compensation through adequate fertilization, is an aggravating factor that can be seen in some farmers plots.


Growth indicators for immature coconut palms made it possible to classify the performance of around twenty smallholdings replanting plots with respect to each other and compare them with the results obtained in the crop management replanting trials. Of this sample, two thirds of the smallholdings inspected displayed growth rates that were similar to the standard, or slightly retarded. The final third were well below standard and their owners are going to be in a very difficult position if they are counting on the production from their coconut palms to pay their loan back.


However, as the risk factors associated with Lethal Yellowing disease still exist, coconut redevelopment and the replanting programme in decimated zones must be rational. It is therefore important to propose more diversified cropping systems over the long term.

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