Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science

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Yam pests in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions of Ghana: A study of farmers\' indigenous technical knowledge and control practices

H Braimah, V M Anchirinah, J Adu-Mensah


In Ghana, yam is a very important indigenous subsistence
and cash crop that is now the most popular nontraditional
export food crop, despite years of scientific
neglect. There is a general paucity of technical
information on yam production and marketing
constraints, but especially so for pests and their
management. To understand and document farmers\'
needs as a basis for developing technologies to meet
their requirements, this study surveyed yam farmers\'
indigenous technical knowledge about pests on their crops
and their pest management practices over the years in
two districts in Brong Ahafo Region and one in Ashanti
Region. Pre-tested questionnaire were administered to
30 randomly selected farmers in five villages in each
district. The results showed that farmers\' knowledge
about pests and the pest spectra were similar for the
three districts. Farmers knew about insect pests on their
yams, but were neither able to draw interrelationships
between pest populations and damage nor the cultural
practices that they follow or the ecological state of
their farms. Termites (Amitermes spp., Macrotemes
spp., and Microtermes spp.) were considered more
important pests than millipedes (Peridontoyge spp.),
tuber beetles (Heterolygus meles and Prionorcytes
rufopiceus), mealybugs (Pseudococcus brevipes,
Planococcus dioscorea and Ferrisia virgata), and scale
insects (Aspidiotus destructor and Aspidiella hartii) in
that order. Out of 12 white yam varieties cultivated in
the area, “Pona” was identified to be most susceptible to
pest attack and “Dentepruka” least susceptible.
Anthropological factors such as farmer's origin or
residency status, level of education, age, marital status,
family size, and the land tenure system were also found
to play key roles in the technologies adopted in
cultivating yams. The implications of the findings,
particularly in identifying appropriate experimental
variables for technology generation and transfer to
improve yam resource productivity, are discussed.

Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science Vol. 40 (1) 2007: pp. 33-42
AJOL African Journals Online