Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is the most widely grown vegetable crop in Uganda, and is popular in the diets of Ugandan citizens. Tomato is cultivated primarily by farmers who own 2 ha or less of land (Karungi et al., 2011). Tomatoes contribute to a farm income in Uganda of ≈250 USD per hectare in each growing season at yields of 7.125 t (Sonko et al., 2005), but their production is challenged by various factors. Pests include insects such as aphids (Myzus persicae Sulzer), fruit worms (Helicoverpa armigera Hubner), mites (Tetranychus evansi Baker & Pritchard), and thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande), and diseases, such as bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum Smith), early blight (Alternaria solani Sorauer), and late blight [Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary]. Fungicides and insecticides have been used to manage tomato pests (Akemo et al., 2001; Tumwine et al., 2002b). Additional limitations include lack of improved cultivars and inadequate information on sustainable horticultural practices (Akemn et al., 2000; Anastacia et al., 2011; Kasenge et al., 2002; Ssekyewa, 2006; Tumwine, 1999; Tumwine et al., 2002a). Potential disease-resistant or tolerant cultivars (Akemn et al., 2000; Fayad et al., 2013; Schreinemachers et al., 2017) and cultural practices such as mulching and staking have been identified to assist in disease management (Akemo et al., 2001). However, the sustainability of cultural practices for tomato production among rural small-landholder farmers has not been studied extensively in Uganda.
The objective of this work was to determine sustainable practices for producing tomatoes in the Kamuli District of Uganda by evaluating cultivars and use of fungicide, staking, and mulching and their impact on yield, disease severity, and gross margin. Evaluating horticultural practices for sustainable tomato production will enable small-landholder farmers to benefit from increased farm income and personal consumption.
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