Farmers Agronomic Practice in Management of the Tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L.) Yellow Leaf Curl Virus in Central Region of Ghana
The study assessed farmers’ awareness of tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) disease and their agronomic and disease management practices in the Efutu municipality, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA), and Mfantseman districts which are leading tomato producing centres in the Central Region of Ghana. The study also surveyed the incidence and severity of the TYLCV disease in tomato fields across the three districts. Household data were collected using structured questionnaire from 150 respondents using multi-stage procedure, and analysed using descriptive statistics. Incidence (DI) and severity index (SI) of TYLCV disease were determined from forty (40) tomato fields selected from each of the three districts. The field data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the means separated with least significant difference (LSD) method at 5% level of probability. The majority of the farmers (92.6%) were aware of the TYLCV disease and said it could cause yield losses ranging from less than 10% to over 41% but did not know the cause. The majority (60.4%) of the farmers managed the TYLCV disease in their farms mainly by applying insecticides (55.6%) and rogueing of diseased plants (43.1%). About 61% of the farmers practiced mixed cropping, and most of them cultivated tomato in both the major and minor cropping seasons, using mainly an improved form of Solanum pimpinellifolium. The highest mean disease incidence and mean disease severity indices were recorded at KEEA (52.9±2.7%, 26.89±1.2%), followed by Efutu (49.5±1.19%, 25.29±0.9%), and Mfantseman (42.1±2.7%, 21.41±0.8%) respectively. In conclusion, TYLCV was highly prevalent in the study area, but infection was moderate due to the use of improved tomato variety.
Keywords: Tomato yellow leaf curl virus, disease incidence and severity, farmers’ agronomic practices, disease management methods.