The Coffee-Cocoa Council (CCC) in Côte d’Ivoire reported in 2018 the infection of 100,000 hectares of cocoa trees which will be destroyed by 2022 by the swollen shoot disease. This virus, which is characterized by swelling of cocoa twigs, yellowing and deformation of leaves, and small pods, has already caused enormous losses in plantations since 2013.
But James Adjovi, an engineer residing in Côte d’Ivoire and trained at the National Polytechnic Institute Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Yamoussoukro, offers a natural product that fights disease. Called BioElit, the solution made from neem seeds (commonly called neem) and other plants, will help cocoa farmers faced with this disease which threatens agricultural productivity.
According to the designer, BioElit was manufactured without the addition of chemicals and industrial products. It has insecticide, fungicide and fertilizer functions, and can be used without fear of negative effects on plants and users. “ We use 250 ml of the product in 16 liters of water, for a spray on the trunk and branches of the cocoa tree. The treatment is done twice in a month, with an interval of 15 days for production from January to January, ie 13 months ” informs James Adjovi on the scientific journal SciDev.Net.
Such an initiative could not only help growers to increase their income, but will also contribute to the growth of the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire, which is the world’s largest exporter. The testimonies of local producers seem to confirm the effectiveness of the product.
“ When I discovered this product, I noticed an impact on performance when I was using it. The planter is looking for a gain, but the harvest has doubled. The other advantage with this product is the regeneration of the cocoa tree” reassures Enoh Foba, agricultural producer and president of Ivorian nurserymen, on the same channel.
According to the information from the designer, more than 600 producers and around 20 cooperatives are already using BioElit at the local level. Trials are also underway for its use on other crops such as rice, tomato and rubber.