Incidence and severity of major fungal diseases of tomato (solanum lycopersicum l.) in three districts within forest and forest-savannah agro-ecological zones of Ghana

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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L) is an important vegetable crop worldwide. Often times, its production is hindered by fungal diseases. The study was carried out in three major tomato growing districts within the forest and forest- savannah agro-ecological zones of Ghana under three main sections. They are; a survey on incidence and severity of fungal diseases in tomato fields, documentation of tomato farmers’ knowledge, perceptions and practices on fungal diseases and their control measures and identification of seed-borne fungi associated with farmer-saved tomato seeds, using the blotter method. Calculations on disease incidence and severity were summarized for their mean percentages per district and the results were presented in tables. Data on tomato farmers’ knowledge on diseases and their control practices were summarized in percentages and presented in bar charts. Results on seed health test were determined in percentages and presented in tables for districts. Early blight, Septoria leaf spot, Fusarium wilt, Collar rot and Sclerotium rot were the major fungal diseases identified in the study. The incidence of Early blight was 63.9, 43.5 and 38.2 % at Agogo, Offinso North Districts and Techiman Municipality, respectively. The study showed that Early blight and Fusarium wilt were the most common severe diseases in all the districts. The research showed that farmers have knowledge of the diseases because of losses that these diseases caused. However, their knowledge on control practices was poor and, therefore, contributes to the high incidence and severity of the identified fungal diseases. Twenty-two species of fungi from 12 genera were identified as seed-borne pathogens of tomato on farmer-saved tomato seeds. Fusarium oxysporum, Alternaria sp., and Fusarium spp., were seed-borne pathogens identified on the tomato seeds to associate with field diseases of Fusarium wilt, Early blight and Collar rot, respectively.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science Crop Protection (Plant Pathology) degree, 2014