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Cacao sustainability: The case of cacao swollen-shoot virus co-infection


  • Folashade B. Agusto ,
  • Maria C. A. Leite,
  • Frank Owusu-Ansah,
  • Owusu Domfeh,
  • Natali Hritonenko,
  • Benito Chen-Charpentier


The cacao swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD) is among the most economically damaging diseases of cacao trees and accounts for almost 15–50% of harvest losses in Ghana. This virus is transmitted by several species of mealybugs (Pseudococcidae, Homoptera) when they feed on cacao plants. One of the mitigation strategies for CSSVD investigated at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) is the use of mild-strain cross-protection of cacao trees against the effects of severe strains. In this study, simple deterministic, delay, and stochastic ordinary differential equation-based models to describe the dynamic of the disease and spread of the virus are suggested. Model parameters are estimated using detailed empirical data from CRIG. The modeling outcomes demonstrate a remarkable resemblance between real and simulated dynamics. We have found that models with delay approximate the data better and this agrees with the knowledge that CSSVD epidemics develop slowly. Also, since there are large variations in the data, stochastic models lead to better results. We show that these models can be used to gain useful informative insights about the nature of disease spread.

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