The Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana Cocoa Board formerly CSSVD and Cocoa Services Division has had a chequered history since its establishment in 1945. The Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) was first reported in the 1930's in the Eastern Region and has since spread throughout the cocoa growing regions in the country. the government realizing the serious threat that the disease posed to the industry, set up the Cocoa Division as a Unit under the then Department of Agriculture to control the CSSVD and cocoa pests.
The government also created cocoa stations where seeds were multiplied, seedlings raised and farmers educated on the corect method of cocoa cultivation. In 1962 when the disease was fairly under control and location of CSSVD outbrreaks had been identified, the Cocoa Division was disbanded and the control of the disease was was passed on to cocoa farmers under the United Ghana Farmers Co-operatives (UGFC) with the withdrawal of grant payments been made under the various control schemes but this did not work. Cocoa Division was, therefore, reconstituted in 1964/65 when it became evident that the farmers could not handle the disease control programme.
In 1972, Cocoa Division was brought under the Ministry of Cocoa Affairs and was renemed Cocoa Production Division. Cocoa Extension which was under the Ministry of Agriculture until 1972 was also transferred to the newly created Ministry of Cocoa. In July 1979, when the Ministry of Cocoa Affairs was dissolved, Cocoa Production Division was placed under the management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). Following a major restructuring exercise of Ghana Cocoa Board, its Subsidiaries and Divisions in 1985, the Cocoa Production Division was renamed Cocoa Services Division (CSD), with three clear functions:
In response to the recommendations made by consultants and other working groups, the government decided to unify cocoa extension with Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Extension services in 1998. Consequently, cocoa extension was ceded to MOFA in the year 2000 Cocoa Services Division was dissolved thereafter and two units, namely, the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit (CSSVD) and Seed Production Unit (SPU) were created in January 2001 to control and replant diseased cocoa farms and produce hybrid cocoa seed for farmers respectively. Following serious concerns from farmers and other stakeholders for effective and efficient extension system for cocoa farmers, the Public Private Partnership in Cocoa Extension, which is coordinated by CSSVDCU came into being in early 2010 In April 2014, the CSSVD-CU was upgraded to a Division and renamed the Cocoa Health and Extension Division’s new mandates.
The mission of CHED is to control the spread of cocoa swollen shoot virus and black pod diseases, assist farmers to replant their treated and died out farms with improved cocoa varieties in all cocoa growing areas of the country; pursue effective pests control programmes as well as provide back-up extension services and technology to meet the technical needs of old and new cocoa farmers.
Sectoring and surveying all cocoa areas to identify cocoa swollen shoot virus disease infected farms. Adopt modern technology to reduce the cycle of sectoring and surveying to facilitate early detection and treatment of diseased farms. Assist farmers to replant their treated farms with improved and recommended cocoa varieties which are high yielding, disease tolerant and early bearing. Encourage and assist communities and individuals to raise cocoa seedlings to augment supplies from SPD Generate data on the distribution of cocoa varieties and age classes and produce relevant maps to assist planning Monitor activities of field staff and farmers to ensure that best labor and agronomic practices are adopted Organize regular farmers educational and sensitization programmes using efficient and cost effective methods Adopt reasonable and legal means to mitigate farmers opposition to the treatment of infected farms.