A Survey And Laboratory Studies On The Effects Of The Sources Of Irrigation Water And Pesticides On Postharvest Quality Of Three Vegetables In The Wa Municipality Of The Upper West Region Of Ghana

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A study was carried out in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region of Ghana to investigate the effects of sources of irrigation water and pesticides on postharvest quality of three vegetables. The objectives of the study were to document the sources of water for irrigation, coliform load in the water sources and the vegetables, The pesticides used and pesticides residue as well as the postharvest treatment methods in the study area using a survey and laboratory experiments were also investigated. One hundred (100) respondents were interviewed comprising 50 farmers and 50 consumers and the survey data analyzed using SPSS version 19. Laboratory assessment of microbial quality and pesticides residue were analyzed using Statistix 9. From the results, the major source of irrigation water used in vegetable productions was dug out wells (88%). The use of watering can and bucket was the commonest irrigation method (82%) used for dry season vegetable farming. Apart from farming, sixty eight percent ( 68% ) of the respondents also used the available water for domestic purposes and another 26% for livestock rearing. Organic fertilizer was the major source of soil amendment applied by the farmers (52%). Cypermethrine, DDT, Lambda and Actelic 25 EC were the most common pesticides used in controlling pests and diseases on the farm in the study area. The major postharvest treatment given to the vegetables was the washing of vegetables in water (45%). It was also observed that 79.5% of the consumers normally obtained their vegetables from the retail market. Some complications associated with the consumption of vegetables included stomach ache (77.5%) and diarrhea (22.5%). The microbial presence in the irrigation water used and vegetables produced were poor as total coliforms, faecal coliforms, E. coli and Salmonella were recordedx. Heptachlor, Alpha Endosulfan, Endrin, 1, 1-dichloro-2, 2-bis (4-chlorophenyl) ethylene (PP-DDE), 1, 1, 1-dichlo-2, 2-bis (4-chlorophenyl) ethane (PP-DDT) and Permethrin were pesticides found to be above the International MRL in the vegetable samples.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science degree in Postharvest Technology, June-2012