Germplasm collection and ethnobotany of taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) from nineteen districts in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions of Ghana
Germplasm collection and ethnobotanical documentation are necessary for effective conservation and management of plant genetic resources. Taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) is one of the staple root and tuber crops in Ghana. The study reports the germplasm and ethnobotanical information of taro collected from 19 districts in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions of Ghana. A germplasm collection expedition was undertaken in 58 towns in the districts. Fifty donors were interviewed on the ethnobotany of taro, using a questionnaire based on International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) descriptors for taro. Sixty taro accessions were collected from fields (34), home gardens (23), roadside stalls (2) and the wild (1). Respondents comprised of 27 males and 23 females. (62%). According to respondents of the survey, taro is used for food (100%), animal feed (44%) and folk medicine (4%). The corms (100%) and leaves (64%) are the parts of the plant used. The crop is grown mainly on a small scale for subsistent use by 70 percent of the respondents. Taro leaf blight (TLB) and lack of planting materials were the main constraints to large scale production. Respondents perceived the outbreak of TLB was due to the use of agrochemicals in farming practices in recent times (80%), irradiation (26%) and mythical reasons (10%). There is the need to educate taro growers on the causes and management of taro leaf blight.