Perception of Mealybug Wilt Effect and Management among Pineapple Farmers in Ghana
Mealybug wilt of pineapple (MWP) is a major viral disease of pineapple [Ananas comosus (L) Merr.] in Ghana. Its incidence and extent of damage have not been extensively studied in the country. The study was conducted to determine pineapple farmers’ perception of the effect and management of the MWP disease in Ghana. Structured interview schedule and questionnaire were used to solicit information from 227 pineapple farmers in the Central and Eastern regions of Ghana. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics including percentage, mean and standard deviation. Majority (73.1%) of the respondents were aged between 31 and 50 years and were mainly senior secondary or senior high school leavers (52.2%) and had been growing pineapples between 5 and 20years (82.6%). All respondents indicated that they had experienced MWP in their pineapple farms and were able to give a vivid description of the disease symptoms. The farmers further indicated that the severity of MWP was high in smooth cayenne (100%), sugar loaf (96.9%) and Queen Victoria (91.2%) but low in MD2 (100%) varieties of pineapple. More than two-thirds of respondents indicated that they were losing between 1% and 20% of their yield per hectare and up to GHȻ 1000.00 (US$ 248.00) per hectare to the disease. Majority of the respondents managed MWP by practicing land fallowing, avoiding infected mother plots for suckers, treating the soil, mother plots and suckers with insecticides to destroy mealybug vectors and their ant symbionts.
Keywords: Mealybug Wilt Effect, Mealybug Management, Mealybug in Pineapple, Mealybug in Ghana