Cape Saint Paul Wilt Disease of coconut in Ghana
The Cape Saint Paul Wilt Disease (CSPWD), a lethal-yellowing type disease of coconut has been in Ghana since 1932. The disease is caused by a phytoplasma and is found in Africa and the Caribbean. The symptoms of the disease are premature nut drop with or without yellowing of fronds and blackening of immature inflorescences. This is followed by progressive yellowing or in some instances browning of the crown from the older leaves upwards. Eventually, the crown turns yellow, dries up and then falls off, leaving a bare trunk or “telephone pole”.
Two types of spread of CSPWD have been observed. In one type, a local centre of infection appears in one or two palms; this is followed by new cases appearing at random around the initial centre. The second is a “jump spread” whereby the disease appears at a spot remote from a known focus. This is then followed by a local spread in all directions.
The disease epidemic which began around Cape Saint Paul in Woe near Keta destroyed thousands of coconut palms and caused the collapse of the coconut industry in the Volta region by the mid-1950s. The disease appeared in the Western region at Cape Three Points in 1964 and in the Central region at Ayensudo in 1983. The history, occurrence, epidemiology and spread of the disease in Ghana have been reported by Johnson and Harries, Ofori and Nkansah-Poku and Dery et al.
Publication date: 8/27/2009
Evidence of the Cape St. Paul wilt disease which has already destroyed millions of coconut plants in the region. Taken at Axim 2003.
posted by: Nuhu Mohammed