Ghanaian citrus growers perturbed by black spot disease

The Ghanaian Orange Growers Association (OGA) was instituted a few years ago with the sole objective of assisting farmers with technical knowledge and up-to-date farming techniques to ensure rich yields and direct access to off-takers to purchase quality organic oranges at competitive prices to prevent post-harvest losses. But their oranges are hard-hit by the airborne fungal black spot disease.

"Almost 50% of our oranges here at Aprade are affected by black spot disease. It affects the whole fruit. Since it is airborne it spreads fast and nearby farms are at risk if we don't periodically remedy the situation. Mancozeb and Bendazid are the fungicides we use to fight black spot disease but they are very expensive," a farm manager lamented.

This manager, who manages 1,500 acres of orange farm for the Eastern regional chapter of Orange Growers Association (OGA), the government should see the black spot disease as a "national problem" and urgently help through the Food and Agriculture ministry and other key stakeholders by supporting the orange farmers with "mass spraying" or "subsidise" the cost of fungicides to promote disease-free oranges. This, according to the veteran Agric officer, will contribute to reviving of the troubled Ghanaian economy through agribusiness.


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