CSD was set up initially in 1994 to combat the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus disease (CSSV), following a survey in 1945/46 which indicated that it posed a serious threat to the industry. The disease was found to occur in all the six cocoa growing regions. Eradication by mass removal of infected trees was carried out by the Division from 1918 to 1961, with the removal of over 135 million diseased trees. Farmers were compensated for the cutting-out of the trees, and to facilitate the replanting of the cut-out areas.In 1962 the Division was abolished and control of CSSV disease became the responsibility of the farmers themselves. This did not work and there was a build-up and spread of the disease which called for the re-establishment of the Division in 1965 to undertake the control. Another country-wide survey and control programme was started in 1970 under the slogan "Plant as You Cut". Under the scheme the Division undertook the following operations:
The Division's role in this scheme was comprehensive, i.e., to cut and replant. It resulted in a massive increase in the labour force. As part of the reform measures introduced under the CRP III the involvement of the CSD in the replanting was abolished and an ex-gratis grant payment system was re-introduced in 1985. This time the CSD did the surveys and cutting-out of infected trees, while farmers did the replanting themselves and were paid a grant for crop compensation and replanting.