The Aowin district of Ghana has been consistently wetter than average, except for a dry anomaly in the first half of the wet month of June.
This prolonged wetting of the pods has favoured the growth and spread of fungal-type pathogens in the field, namely the black pod disease.
More importantly, the little dry season was relatively short and was interrupted by a major rain event at the end of July. This is not great for the pods. A sustained little dry season would normally act as a block to the spread of the disease, because it reduces the wet environment that the pathogen needs to spread.
So, overall, the indicators point to an above-average risk of black pods in the Aowin district of Ghana this season. This has been confirmed by analysing the internal black pod disease risk index over the season.
Based on our analysis, we believe that the pathogen may have attacked the flower cushions and is likely to have caused a decline in the fruit setting. If the rains continue in line with the seasonal average, the trees will benefit in terms of water resilience, but the damage to production through Black Pod may worsen.
Considering that the trees have accumulated large amounts of water in the field, we should hope for a swift and early start of the long dry season to diminish the black pod disease threat.