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Tree disease attacks Camaroon's cocoa crops, farmers seek government help

August 8, 2011

One of Camaroon's main exports, cocoa, had been doing well this year, in spite of a tree disease that has been wreaking havoc on the nation's crops. The disease attacks cocoa trees at their roots, giving them a rusty color and eventually killing them. It is unknown how many trees have been lost to the plant-killer.

"The disease continues to spread from farms on the upper slopes of Mount Camaroon to valleys now and affecting more and more members of our union," Abraham Abong, chair of a local farmers cooperative in the southwestern region of Camaroon, told Reuters. "In fact, I've stopped treating my plants with chemicals because it is just wasting money as more and more trees are destroyed."

Abong also reported that more than half of his union, which numbers over 23,000 farmers, have been affected, and they have appealed to the government for help addressing the issue.

The nation's export numbers have been good this year, even though so many trees have fallen ill. Last month, Camaroon saw a 16 percent increase in exports, according to Bloomberg.

Friends and family of farmers, who are working or studying outside of the country can use international phone cards to make calls to Camaroon to find out how the crops are doing.

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