The cost burden of bacterial wilt disease in Tomato production in Central and Western Uganda
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Tomatoes are a source of income and food security for small-landholder farmers across Uganda. They provide a wide range of health benefits to the body and its production has increased the livelihood of rural farmers. However, productivity of the crop is hampered by bacterial wilt disease that is difficult to control thereby causing considerable yield losses. This research study assesses the cost burden of bacterial wilt disease in tomato production in Central and Western Uganda. A sample of 297 tomato farmers from five districts was randomly selected from farmer groups and semi-structured questionnaires were administered to respondents to collect relevant primary data. Descriptive statistics show that the majority (91.6%) of all the surveyed households were males, however there was a significant difference between regions, for instance, there were more male households (98.6%) in the Central region than the case in the Western region (89%). All farmers were about 42 years old on average, however tomato farmers in the Western region were older than those in the Central region with an average age of (44years) and (41years) respectively. The results also show that a farmer on average attained 7 years of education in all households, the minority (33.7%) and (40%) farmers had access to extension and credit services respectively. The results showed that the majority (87.3%) of all farmers in the surveyed households encountered bacterial wilt disease in their gardens. The tomato production loss to only bacterial wilt disease was 27.4% while the loss to all kinds of other diseases and pests was 47.1% and 20.1% respectively. The various diseases reported by farmers were BWD, tomato late blight, Blossom, Fungal disease, Kawaali, and black spot where BWD was found to be the most damaging disease. There was a high dependence (97.3%) on the use of synthetic chemicals to control BWD. However the majority (63.85%) of farmers indicated that the use of synthetic chemicals alone cannot effectively control BWD. The costs involved in the control of the disease were high (30% of average total input costs per season) as compared to other input costs. It is concluded that Bacterial wilt disease is widely prevalent in both Central and Western regions of Uganda and farmers spend a lot of money on pesticides to control the disease. Therefore, cost-effective and better interventions should be put in place to minimize losses caused by the disease.