SECTION E - VEGETABLE CROPS - PROBLEMS WITH TOMATO (LYCOPERSICON ESCULENTUM) PRODUCTION IN LIBERIA
Very few tomatoes are grown in the coastal regions of West Africa and of those that are grown, a very high percentage of plants die before the first fruits are harvested.
Major causal agents of tomato mortality in Liberia are soil-borne pathogens and include bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum), Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) or (F. lycopersici) and root knot nematodes (Heterodera sp., Meloidogyne sp.). Pythium and Rhizoctonia seedling diseases are also frequently troublesome.
Leaf diseases and insects, especially fruit fly maggots, are also very damaging, but these can be kept in check by using appropriate and regular spray programmes. The above problems have been reviewed by Hart and Sieh (1965), Hart (1966), Pratt and Kiadii (1965) and Tindall (1962).
Due to the rather limited diurnal fluctuation in temperature which occurs throughout most of Liberia, pollination and fruit set problems often occur and these further depress yields. These have been reviewed by Hart and Sieh (1965).
One essential measure which must be taken, in order to produce healthy field plants, is that of growing healthy seedlings in either sterilized soil for seedling production can produce still more problems, as is shown in the following results and discussion.