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Expecting chocolate price surging a while due to virus attacks on Cacao trees

About half of the world’s production of Chocolate comes from West African countries, especially Ivory Coast and Ghana. Chocolate originates from cacao trees and recent virus attacks on the cacao trees in Ghana shorted its supply to the globe.

This cacao swollen shoot virus disease(CSSVD) was found in the Eastern Region of Ghana in 1936 first time by a farmer, and it was confirmed in 1939 its virus nature.

According to Sci.news., CSSVD caused economic impacts on the countries where the virus spread speedily. The virus could account for 15-50% yield loss if the severe strains are involved in infections.

The CSSV is classified as a member of the plant infecting pararetroviruses in the genus “Badnavirus” which are with nonenveloped bacilliform particles that encapsulate a circular double-stranded DNA-genome. it is spread through wind and insects on the infected cacao trees destroyed at the end. The virus causes swellings of the stems(nodes, internodes, tips) and roots. There is a way to prevent the spread further with a vaccine but its cost is high for the poor farmers of the regions.

“The virus is a real threat to the global supply of chocolate,” said Professor Benito Chen-Charpentier, a researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington. He added, “Pesticides don’t work well against mealybugs, leaving farmers to try to prevent the spread of the disease by cutting out infected trees and breeding resistant trees. But despite these efforts, Ghana has lost more than 254 million cacao trees in recent years.”

Even if the virus-vaccinated trees produced less than 50% compared with the healthy cacao trees. Scientists are seeking a way of preventing the spread of mealybugs from jumping from one tree to another using mathematical data to determine how far apart farmers can plant vaccinated trees to another.

According to Confectionary.com, the Chocolate confectionary market is expected to be worth over $128 billion in 2024 in the globe. Reducing the production of chocolate will bring a high price tag respectively.

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