GCGRA Research Projects (9)

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Mabang Megakarya Selection Programme (MMSP) - Consolidation Phase.

Funded by GCGRA and CRIG/COCOBOD, CRUK Ltd, The Embassy of the Netherlands in Accra, Mars, Mondelez International
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(2013 to 2016)
Researcher: Mr. E.Nsiah
The supply of improved planting materials to farmers is a vital component in ensuring the sustainability of cocoa production. A public/private partnership between Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana, GCGRA and its sister organisation CR(UK) Ltd, Mars and Mondelez International will contribute over €4million to the continuation of a major breeding programme, the Mabang Megakarya Selection Programme (MMSP) over four years. MMSP’s work will lead to Ghana’s seed gardens supplying farmers with new varieties which have been tested for their performance in an area affected by the devastating Megakarya form of Black Pod disease. In the longer term it will also develop improved clonal varieties which will be at the heart of the modernisation of cocoa production.

Intercropping Cocoa with Economic Shade Trees.

Funded by GCGRA and Cadbury-Kraft, CRIG
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
» University of Reading
(2007 to 2011)
Researchers: Prof. P.Hadley, Dr. A.Daymond
A joint project between CRIG, Cadbury International (Kraft), GCGRA and The University of Reading to assess the performance of hybrid and clonal cocoa grown under Avocado or Terminalia shade trees or without shading.

Evaluation of predictive tests for resistance to black pod disease in Ghana

Funded by GCGRA
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(2010 to 2011)
Researchers: Dr. Boamah Adomako, Dr. F. Amoah, Dr. Lockwood (Advisor)
A research project in Ghana to test whether the leaf disc and/or detached pod tests for black pod resistance can be used to predict the rank order of disease incidence of the 16 clones in a completed clone trial and of the general combining abilities (gcas) of 5 and 10 parents in two completed field trials.

Mabang Megakarya Selection Programme (MMSP).

Funded by GCGRA and LNV Sustainable Cocoa Subsidy Scheme (Dutch Buffer Stock) and CRIG/COCOBOD
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(2005 to 2009)
Researcher: Mr. E.Nsiah
A major new breeding programme with the objective of new planting materials with high yield in the presence of damaging pests and diseases, and which can deliver fermented and dried cocoa beans of traditional Ghanaian quality.

Farmer Based Elite Germplasm Identification and Multiplication in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

Funded by GCGRA
» Centre National de Recherche Agronomique
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(2001 to 2003)
Researcher: Abdoulaye Traore
A two year research project which established somatic embryogenesis technology at both CNRA and CRIG and used this to propagate promising selections which had been identified by farmers.

Entomopathogenic Fungi for Control of Mirids in Ghana

Funded by GCGRA
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(1999 to 2001)
Researcher: Dr George Oduor
This project was initiated to find, isolate and identify suitable fungal pathogens which could be used to develop an environmentally friendly biocontrol technique to control mirids (capsids), an insect pest which cause substantial damage to the cocoa crop in West Africa. The objectives were to isolate suitable pathogens from mirid populations in Ghana, demonstrate the technical feasibility of cocoa mirid control using fungal pathogens and train Ghanaian scientists in the principles of insect pathology and production of fungal entomopathogens. It complements a larger CABI/CRIG project which was funded by the UK Government (DFID). Staff from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) were trained in various aspects of insect pathology both in the laboratory in CABI (UK), CABI-ARC (Kenya) and through on-the-job training in Ghana. Surveys for pathogens in the different cocoa growing regions in Ghana recovered a number of fungal pathogens but only Beauveria bassiana was considered to be worth evaluating as a potential mycoinsecticide. Four other isolates of B. bassiana from cocoa mirids in Papua New Guinea were studied alongside the Ghanaian one. Bioassays against the mirid Sahlbergella singularis did not show any significant differences in the pathogenicities of these isolates. Studies conducted at different temperatures (23, 28 and 33OC) on the rate of growth on artificial medium, intensity of sporulation and viability of both dry spores and spores formulated in oil, of the different isolates identified isolate 382948 (originally isolated from S. singularis in Ghana) as the most promising one for development into a biopesticide. A technique for mass producing B. bassiana on sterilised boiled rice was developed and utilised. Further work is now required in refining formulation, and conducting field trials in order to evaluate the efficacy of this potential biopesticide against cocoa mirid.

Long-term Physiology Trial

Funded by GCGRA
» University of Reading
(1995 to 2001)
Researcher: P. Hadley
The intention was to set up a series of long-term multi-locational experiments to analyse the growth and yield potential of a number of contrasting cocoa clones. Sites were established at Almirante Cacau, Bahia, Brazil and Bontu Morso, nr. Kumasi, Ghana but difficulties in establishing common planting materials eventually led to a re-consideration of the project. The site at Bontu Morso was subsequently used in the BCCCA/Bangor University/FORIG project ‘Improving the productivity and sustainability of cocoa farms in West Africa through the utilisation of native forest trees in agroforestry systems’ and the GCGRA/CRIG/Cadbury International project ‘Intercropping cocoa with economic shade crops’.

Diagnostic procedures for detection of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Badnavirus Isolates

Funded by GCGRA
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(1988 to 2000)
Researcher: Dr. S. Sackey
Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV) disease has a serious impact on cocoa production in many areas of West Africa though it is not known to occur in the main cocoa areas of the Americas or Southeast Asia. It is one of the most challenging diseases to detect/diagnose both in the field and during the quarantine process since the leaf symptoms of many strains are difficult to distinguish from those caused by mineral deficiencies, and moreover, since viral infections may remain latent/asymptomatic for several years. At the start of this project in 2000, a review of the CSSV detection methods reported in the literature indicated that it was still difficult to unequivocally diagnose cocoa swollen shoot badnavirus infections, since with the exception of electron microscopy and host symptom induction in seedlings, the various diagnostic practices could not be relied upon to universally detect all isolates/infections. To increase the range of strains that the primers could detect, a nucleotide sequence database was compiled on a segment of virus genome covering thirty-six CSSV isolates. Even though PCR DNA products were obtained from all the selected virus isolates, cloning and nucleotide sequencing proved difficult. Thus nucleotide sequences were generated from only a few isolates. The second part of the project was to design new primers based on a new consensus of that part of the virus genome defined by the badna primers. The consensus generated from the few CSSV isolates were used in conjunction with sequences from other viruses associated with tropical crops typically found in Ghanaian cocoa farms, i.e. Discorea alata (yam), banana, and sugarcane, and some typical weeds, i.e. commelina, and kalenchoe. The new primers were characterized to determine optimal conditions for PCR. In the third part of the project, the primers were assessed for their ability to generate amplification products from CSSV infected tissue from these same 36 isolates. It was shown that unlike the universal primers of Lockhart and Olszewski (1983) all but a few of the samples tested produced only one DNA amplification product of the expected 600 base pair molecular weight. Selected amplification products were cloned and sequenced and it was confirmed that they were virus-coded. The cloned DNAs were used as templates for the synthesis of non-radioactive labelled probes for dot blot hybridisation analysis of crude virus DNA extracts, and differentiated between virus DNA and uninfected (healthy) Amelonado cocoa DNA. The project was carried out in part as a postgraduate research project and Ms Rita Nana Konadu Osei submitted her thesis in partial fulfilment of the conditions for the award of the M.Phil. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana in December 2000.

Laboratory and field evaluation of neem seed water extract with different spraying nozzles for control of capsids

Funded by GCGRA
» University of Kade
» Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana
(1995 to 1996)
Researcher: Prof Afreh-Nuamah
"Research that is focused on the needs of the West African cocoa farmer"