FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN GHANA
A Report of a Consulting Assignment
Carl W. Campbell
Sub-Tropical Experiment Station
Center for Tropical Agriculture
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
In 1969 I spent approximately three months in Ghana, West Africa, as a
member of a University of Florida group consulting in production and utilization
of food crops. The University of Florida group, along with Robert R. Nathan
Associates, Inc., Harza Engineering Company and Frederic R. Harris, Inc., made
up the Nathan Consortium for Sector Studies. The Nathan Consortium was under
contract to the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of Ghana to
conduct studies of the agricultural, transportation and water resource sectors
of the economy, and to recommend ways in which these resources could best be
managed to improve the economy of Ghana.
I participated as a consultant in production of tropical fruit and
vegetable crops. The specific crops to be studied were designated tentatively
before my arrival in Ghana. The final choice of crops was made after I had the
opportunity to examine the agricultural economy personally and discuss the
subject with other persons working in Ghanaian agriculture.
My work included investigation of present methods of crop production,
evaluation of the factors limiting production, and preparation of recommenda-
tions for improvement of production in the future. I arrived in Ghana on 15
September, 1969, during the minor rainy season, and departed on 6 December, at
the beginning of the major dry season. I was stationed in Accra, the capitol
city, and took several field trips to the principal fruit and vegetable produc-
tion areas of the country.
My work was submitted to Dr. R. H. Allen, Director of the Sector Studies,
in a series of reports, which are appended. In addition to preparing these
reports, I consulted with other members of the Nathan Consortium group on crop
rotation, water requirements, suitability of soils for specific crops, variety
improvement, potential yields, and other aspects of crop production.
This assignment was very stimulating to me because of the opportunity to
observe in detail several systems of subsistence agriculture under tropical
climatic conditions ranging from semiarid to wet. It was an interesting and
educational experience to participate in a group effort with experienced pro-
fessional consultants trained in many different disciplines.
I wish to gratefully acknowledge the friendship and assistance I received
from personnel of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Economic Affairs
of the Government of Ghana, the University of Ghana (Legon), the University of
Science and Technology (Kumasi), the U.S.A.I.D. Mission in Ghana, the National
Investment Bank, and the Nathan Consortium for Sector Studies.
Preface . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . ii
MANGO PRODUCTION IN GHANA
I. Introduction. . . . . . . . .. ..... 1
II. Present Situation . . . . . . . . . 1
III. Proposals for Increasing Production and Improving
Fruit Quality. . . . . . . . . .. 6
IV. Possible Utilization of Increased Crop . . . . .. 10
Appendix I . . . . . . . . .. . . . 12
Appendix II. . . . . . . . .. . . 15
CITRUS PRODUCTION IN GHANA
I. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . 18
II. Citrus Fruits Grown in Ghana . . . . . . .. 18
III. Present Cultural Methods . . . . . . . .. 20
IV. Important Factors Limiting Yield and Fruit Quality . . 21
V. Recommendations for Increasing Yields and Improving
Fruit Quality . . . . . . . . . . 24
VI. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . .. 30
Appendix I ... . . . . . . ... . 31
PINEAPPLE PRODUCTION IN GHANA
I. Introduction . .. . . . . . . . . . 34
II. Present Methods of Cultivation . . . . . . . 34
III. Important Limiting Factors and Suggestions for
Improvement of Production and Fruit Quality .... 38
IV. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
TOMATO PRODUCTION IN GHANA
I. Introduction . . . . . . ... . ....... 45
II. Present Situation . . . . . . ....... . 45
III. Suggestions for Increasing Production or Reducing Costs . 49
IV. Establishment of Priorities . . . . . . .. 56
VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN GHANA (EXCLUDING TOMATOES)
I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . 61
II. General Problems and Suggested Action . . . . . 61
III. Specific Vegetable Crops . . . . . . . . 66
IV. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . 68
MANGO PRODUCTION IN GHANA
Although the mango is known throughout Ghana, and is well adapted to some
parts of the country, mango culture has received relatively little attention from
trained horticulturists. My report is based on the limited literature available
and on observations I have made in the field. It is my opinion that with a
relatively small investment in funds and personnel by the Government of Ghana,
production of mango could be increased greatly and quality of fruit could be im-
proved very much. Improved fruit quality would lead to increased domestic con-
sumption. With the proper incentives from the Government, private individuals
could develop a trade in export of fresh fruit, and possibly a small processing
II. PRESENT SITUATION
The climate of southern and central Ghana is well adapted to culture of the
mango, with the exception of areas in the forest zone where rainfall is great
enough to foster too much development of fungus diseases. The mango grows best
in lowland tropical or warm subtropical climates. It is very tolerant of drought
and, in fact, fruits best in areas with a definite dry season, preferably at the
time of blooming and fruit development.
Availability of water is not a limiting factor to mango production in Ghana.
The only time mango trees need to be watered is right after they are planted, if
the soil becomes dry. Because planting usually is done during the rainy season,
this is seldom necessary.
Many of the soils of Ghana are excellent for mango cultivation. This is
evident from the good condition of the trees, which grow well without any care.
In areas where erosion can be a serious problem with cultivation of annual crops,
mango and other tree crops can be grown indefinitely without soil erosion or loss
of fertility and structure, provided proper attention is paid to cover crops.
Intercropping with short-term crops such as plantain, pawpaw, cassava, cocoyam,
etc. is often done, and is good practice under the conditions existing in Ghana.
Mango trees are found throughout Ghana, but the greatest concentration
occurs in the coastal savanna and in the transitional zone between the forest
zone and the interior savanna. Many trees are found in the forest zone, but
parts of this area have too high a rainfall for optimum development of the mango
fruit. There are few mango groves in the usual sense of the word. Instead,
trees grow here and there in a random manner. Many of the trees near homes are
planted intentionally, but many trees also grow as "volunteers" from discarded
Statistics on mango acreage in Ghana are lacking in Government publications,
and it is not possible for me to make a meaningful estimate. Certainly, there
are many mango trees in Ghana.
C. Production Practices
In general, mango trees receive no care at all except protection from
grazing animals when the trees are small. Trees growing near homes often receive
nutriment from refuse, which is thrown around them intentionally or unintention-
ally. These trees grow faster than trees not receiving such treatment. Other
than that, the trees receive no fertilizer, no pruning, no irrigation, and no
treatment for control of pests or diseases. Fruit harvest is done in a haphazard
manner, the fruits being knocked down by stones or sticks, or shaken from the
limbs. Much of the fruit is damaged as it falls to the ground.
The majority of mango trees in Ghana are seedlings which are very similar
to the type called 'Turpentine' in Florida. This is a polyembryonic type which
reproduces true from seed. Seedlings are uniform and the trees are vigorous and
hardy. For these reasons, 'Turpentine' is considered an excellent rootstock for
grafting trees of superior varieties in Florida.
The tree in Ghana is relatively small in size, with a round, compact
canopy. The small fruits are borne in clusters. The seed makes up as much as
one-sixth to one-quarter of the weight of the fruit. Although the fruits have
fair flavor and some resistance to disease, they have none of the other attri-
butes of a desirable mango variety (heavy bearing, attractive color, medium to
large fruit size, small seed). Some superior varieties have been introduced to
Ghana in the past, and there has been some vegetative propagation of these, mostly
by approach grafting. The area around Ejura is noted for production of the
variety 'Jaffna' from Ceylon, and apparently some other selections. The 'Jaffna'
variety is polyembryonic, and usually reproduces true from seed. Recently, some
varieties from India ('Alphonso', 'Bombay Yellow') and Florida ('Haden', 'Keitt',
'Kent', 'Irwin', 'Palmer' and 'Zill') were introduced and grafted by personnel of
the Ministry of Agriculture, the Crops Research Institute and U.S.A.I.D. Some
of these have borne fruit and promise to be of value in Ghana.
Most mango trees in Ghana are grown from seed. Some vegetative propagation
has been done by personnel of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Crops Research
Institute, the State Farms Corporation and the University of Ghana. Techniques
used have included approach grafting and budding.
F. Season of Bearing
According to Wills (Agriculture and Land Use in Ghana), mangos have two
blooming seasons in Ghana. The first occurs from January to March, the fruit
maturing from May to July. There is a second bloom in August and September,
from which the fruit matures in December and January. I have observed that bloom
is not limited to these periods. Some occurs sporadically over a longer period
of time. The effect of this is to extend the season of availability of fruit.
Although there are large peaks in the fruit supply, corresponding to the times
stated by Wills, some fruit is available for many months of the year.
Ministry of Agriculture estimates of mango yield in Ghana for the years
1966, 1967 and 1968 are 3,000 long tons per year. Production and local consump-
tion probably are considerably greater than that. Estimates of yields per tree
vary widely. After observing many trees in the field, I believe that an average
yield of 100 pounds per tree per year is a reasonable estimate (compared to a
yield of 200 pounds in Florida, and higher yields in areas where cold weather
is not a limiting factor). This estimate represents the fruit which could be
harvested and sold. I doubt that the amount actually harvested is anywhere near
that in Ghana.
A yield of 100 lb per tree would give 4,800 lb per acre for trees in a
30 foot square spacing (48 trees per acre) or 7,000 lb per acre for trees in a
25 foot square spacing (70 trees per acre).
H. Utilization of the Crop
Up to now the only significant utilization of mangos in Ghana has been as
fresh fruit in local markets. Although enough fruit was assembled (with diffi-
culty) for a short trial run of the processing machinery in the Government
Cannery at Wenchi, no further canning has been done. This is not surprising for
two reasons. First, it is difficult to obtain the large quantities of fruit
needed for processing from trees scattered here and there, often far from good
roads. Secondly, the cannery is equipped to make only mango puree, for which
there is no market anywhere in the world. There is a small world market for
mango chutney and canned mango slices, but apparently the cannery is not equipped
to produce these products. Even if it were, the local fruit is not suitable for
making them. The fruit is too small and much too fibrous for this purpose.
Scale insects probably are the most injurious pest to the mango in Ghana.
Damage includes disfiguring or dropping of fruits and defoliation of trees.
Fruit-piercing moths cause some loss of ripe fruit. The moths pierce the
fruit and suck juice from it. The wound affords entry to soft-rot organisms
which cause the fruit to decay.
Thrips and mites are said to damage mango trees in Ghana. I have not
observed major damage which I could attribute to these pests. Locally severe
infestations could cause loss of fruit and some defoliation of trees.
I estimate that damage by pests causes the loss of 10 to 15% of the
potential mango crop in Ghana.
Anthracnose disease, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides,
occurs throughout the tropics and subtropics. Undoubtedly, it is the most im-
portant disease of mango in Ghana. Anytime there is high relative humidity or
rainfall during bloom and fruit development, as there is in the forest zone of
Ghana, anthracnose development is encouraged. It causes flower blight, fruit
drop, blackspot of mature fruit and occasionally defoliation of trees. Where no
control measures are used, in times of high rainfall this disease probably causes
loss of 25% of the potential crop and damage to 50% or more of the surviving
Powdery mildew occurs in Ghana, but I have not observed that it is a
severe problem. Red rust disease and lichens occur on leaves and fruit, but do
not cause much crop loss.
K. Mineral Nutrition
From their appearance, it is evident that the mango trees growing in Ghana
do not suffer from any important mineral element deficiency. The leaves are
well-formed, normal in size, and have a good green color. Considering the fact
that most of them receive no fertilizer, mango trees grow very well in Ghana.
III. PROPOSALS FOR INCREASING PRODUCTION AND
IMPROVING FRUIT QUALITY
Except for the limited number of trees of superior varieties, it can be
stated accurately that the mangoes now grown in Ghana are not satisfactory for
the fresh market and are completely unacceptable for processing. Therefore, a
changeover to improved varieties could have a great effect on the mango industry
in this country. I believe that consumers would learn readily to accept superior
fruits in the market. Several agricultural officers have indicated to me the
opinions that farmers would be interested in growing trees of superior varieties
if they were available at reasonable cost. Ghanaian farmers with experience in
growing tree crops realize the value of grafted trees of improved varieties.
It is neither practicable nor desirable to undertake a program of con-
trolled breeding to develop new varieties in Ghana. This is a laborious process
which has been unsuccessful in other mango-growing areas. Instead, a program
of selection is desirable.
The first step in a selection program involves the introduction of the
best varieties from several other areas of the world. These should be planted
in a few selected places in Ghana and observed carefully for vigor, fruitfulness
and fruit quality. Those which are well adapted to local conditions should be
propagated and distributed as widely as possible.
Next, seeds from the best introduced varieties should be planted--the more
the better and observed by trained horticulturists. The chances are very good
that some of the seedlings will turn out to be even better than the introduced
varieties (adapted to local conditions, etc.) In the meantime, farmers will
also be discovering superior selections, grown from seeds produced by trees of
introduced varieties. If government personnel are alert, many superior varieties
can be found in this way.
This is the way the excellent varieties of mango in Florida, Hawaii and
Israel have developed. The program will not work if introductions are limited
to a few varieties of similar genetic background. The important thing is to
import many varieties of diverse origin and grow them in close proximity, so
that cross-pollination can occur.
An outline for a mango variety improvement program is given in Apendix I.
It would be best to have the responsibility for the mango improvement program
in the hands of one individual, a trained horticulturist. Testing should be
limited to a very few sites, which are representative of the areas of Ghana in
which mangos are grown. With one individual to co-ordinate the program, and
periodic meetings of personnel from the testing sites, steady progress in
variety improvement could be made. The introduction and selection of high-
yielding varieties and gradual replacement of varieties grown at present could
double fruit production per unit of land area in a 15-year period of time. In
addition to an increase in production, there would be a replacement of poor
fruit by good fruit.
B. Disease Control
Next to variety improvement this is the most important way in which
yields of marketable fruit could be increased. The most obvious way to reduce
disease is to grow the crop in areas where disease is the least severe. The
southern coastal savanna probably has the least fungus disease problem in Ghana
because of the low rainfall. The transition zone between the forest zone and
the interior savanna also has a low enough rainfall to be quite favorable for
mango culture. In much of the forest zone, fungus diseases will cause much
damage to mango fruit, but they could be controlled by application of fungicidal
One spray a year of a copper fungicide (Bordeaux or neutral copper) would
eliminate lichens and red rust disease, but would not control anthracnose
disease. For anthracnose control, copper fungicide sprays should be applied at
4-week intervals from the time of bloom until the fruit is mature (a period of
4 to 6 months, depending on the variety).
Fungicidal sprays can be applied best by high-pressure power equipment.
Thorough coverage of all susceptible plant parts is essential. Undoubtedly it
is not realistic to expect much of this kind of equipment to be used in Ghana
for a long time. Hand equipment can do a fair job of disease control if good
coverage is obtained. The equipment should be of a type which will develop
relatively high pressure, and fine dispersal of the spray material. A good
program of disease control could easily double yields of marketable fruit in
years when disease incidence is high.
C. Pest Control
This is not as important as disease control, but cannot be ignored in a
good mango cultural program. Whereas disease control should be applied regular-
ly, as a preventive measure, pest control should be applied only as needed, as
a corrective measure. Infestations of scales, mites and thrips usually do not
occur uniformly over a large area, but develop locally. Pesticides for control
of the various pests are available from several chemical companies, and instruc-
tions in pest control can be obtained from agricultural extension personnel.
Fruit-piercing moths present a different problem. A control program
would be an impossible undertaking because they are very mobile insects and
have many alternate host plants. Since they seem to attack only ripe or nearly
ripe fruit, the way to avoid this damage is to harvest the fruit just as the
ripening process begins. This can be detected as a slight lightening in color
at the distal (lower) end of the fruit. Fruits picked at this stage will ripen
to good eating quality in a few days.
If the soil becomes dry around newly-planted mango trees before new roots
have become established, the trees will die. A small basin should be formed
around newly-planted trees so that they can be watered if necessary. Otherwise,
no irrigation of mango trees is necessary in Ghana, nor would irrigation
increase yields of fruit.
Mango trees grow and produce fair crops of fruit in Ghana without the use
of fertilizer. However, the fact that growth is improved where trees receive
some application of compost and household refuse indicates that growth and
yields could be improved by the application of fertilizer.
Nitrogen is the element most likely to be in short supply. However, it
is not advisable to apply nitrogen fertilizer to mango trees indiscriminately,
because too much can cause internal breakdown of the fruit. Nitrogen should be
kept in balance with potassium in the fertilizer mix.
In soils which lack phosphorus, it is advisable to include phosphate in
the fertilizer until the phosphorus content of the soil reaches a satisfactory
level, and then discontinue its use until there is some indication of need.
Phosphorus deficiency rarely occurs in tree crops.
For mango trees in Ghana, I would suggest application of a 15-15-15
fertilizer once a year at the rate of one lb of fertilizer for every inch of
diameter of tree trunk. After the first 5 years, the phosphate could be
eliminated from the mix, making it a 15-0-15.
With superior varieties and a reasonable program of disease control, pest
control, and fertilization, significant improvements in fruit quality and yield
could be attained in 10 years. The production of mangos in Ghana could be doubled
in 15 years. The effect of substitution of superior varieties for those now
grown would be much greater than a doubling of yield would indicate, because the
fruit produced now is so inferior.
IV. POSSIBLE UTILIZATION OF INCREASED CROP
A. Fresh Consumption
The people of Ghana like mangos and are willing to buy them when they are
available in the markets. I believe that per capital consumption would increase
if fruit of superior varieties were available. Any increase in production
occurring as a result of improved varieties and culture would require a number
of years, and the market could adjust gradually. The increase in population of
Ghana will cause an increase in fruit consumption, also.
B. Export Fresh Fruit
There is at this time some export of fresh mango fruits from South Africa
and Israel to Europe. Production for such a market requires fruit of superior
quality, free of blemishes and disease. To develop an export trade, it would be
necessary for the Government of Ghana to encourage the establishment of larger
groves (say 10 acres or more). This would make it economical for growers to
acquire power machinery for disease control.
Although it would take many years to develop any appreciable export trade
in fresh fruit, this is a worthwhile goal for Ghana.
The situation in mango processing is discussed above in Section II. I see
no possibility for the development of a mango processing industry in Ghana in the
next few years. If varieties should become available which are suitable for pro-
cessing, and if fruit production increased to the point where there was a surplus
of fruit over fresh market require ments, then it would be possible to establish
a processing industry. However, before steps are taken to do this, there should
be some assurance that a market exists for the products. The world market for
mango products is very small indeed.
MANGO VARIETY IMPROVEMENT IN GHANA
I. PRELIMINARY PROCEDURE
A. Designate personnel to conduct project.
1. Senior horticulturist in charge of project
2. One horticulturist at each variety trial site to supervise grafting,
planting and care of trees and take data on growth and fruit
3. One skilled worker at each site to carry out grafting and operate
4. Laborers as necessary to care for trees.
B. Choose sites for variety trials.
1. Coastal Savanna
2. Forest zone
3. "Derived Savanna".
II. INTRODUCTION OF FOREIGN VARIETIES
A. Establish nurseries of rootstocks, using local seed.
B. Obtain scionwood of superior varieties from several parts of the world
(request that wood be sent only from disease-free trees).
4. U.S.A. (Hawaii, Florida)
C. Graft trees, using side veneer graft or modified chip-bud technique.
Rootstocks can be grafted as early as 2 to 3 months after sprouting of the seed.
They should not be larger than 3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter when grafted. Determine
from practical experience best time of year to graft.
D. Care for nursery trees intensively.
1. Control weeds
2. Apply light application of fertilizer two times a year
3. Water trees if soil becomes dry.
E. Establish variety trial plantings. Land area required will depend upon number
of varieties available. Trees in nursery should be ready to plant 10 to 12
months after grafting.
1. Plant 3 to 5 trees of each variety, spaced 15 feet apart in rows
30 feet apart
2. Take good care of trees
(a) Protect from livestock
(b) Water trees if soil becomes dry during first 2 or 3 months after
(c) Apply fertilizer once a year
(d) Control weeds by cutlass or mower.
F. Evaluation of varieties.
1. Take data on vigor of trees and growth characteristics
2. As soon as first fruit is borne (3 to 5 years after grafting) take
(a) Fruit quality and appearance. Destroy any tree with poor quality
(b) Yield of fruit (number and weight)
3. Continue yield records for 4 or 5 years to determine fruitfulness under
local conditions. Destroy unfruitful varieties.
G. Propagate and distribute (or sell at reasonable price) trees of varieties
which are well adapted to local conditions.
III. SELECTION OF LOCAL VARIETIES
A. Set aside 2 or 3 acres of land at each variety trial site.
B. Grow a nursery of seedlings from the best of the introduced varieties.
C. Select the healthy, vigorous ones and plant out at 6-foot spacing in rows
20 feet apart
D. Take data as in Section II above. Destroy inferior trees. Chances are good
that some superior seedlings will be found.
E. Request extension personnel and farmers to be on the lookout for superior
seedlings on private farms and estates.
F. Graft trees of seedlings with superior characteristics and plant in variety
test site at 15 x 30 foot spacing to test bearing capability. Eliminate
G. Make trees of the superior selections for distribution to farmers of Ghana.
IMPROVEMENT OF TROPICAL FRUITS IN GHANA
There are other fruits already growing in Ghana which could be improved
greatly by a program of introduction of superior varieties from other countries.
Some introduction has been done already at such institutions as the Crops Research
Institute, Kwadaso, and the University of Ghana Agricultural Research Station,
Kade. With these as a beginning, much improvement could be made with a relatively
small expenditure of funds.
This is not an important fruit in Ghana, but some fruit is sold in many local
markets. Apparently it is well accepted by some Ghanaian people, and the market
would grow if more fruit were available.
Emphasis should be placed on introduction of West Indian types and Guatemalan-
West Indian hybrids, because these would be well adapted to the lowland tropical
climate of Ghana. Mexican types are better adapted to a cool highland climate.
Sites for avocado plantings should be chosen carefully. There are many
places in Ghana where avocado trees would not grow well because of poor internal
soil drainage. The avocado is one of the most sensitive of tree crops to poor
drainage, which favors the development of Phytophthora root rot. In spite of this
disadvantage, I believe the avocado offers good possibilities as a tree crop for
local consumption in Ghana.
The Guavas I have seen growing in Ghana are not of very good quality. Many
superior guava varieties have been developed by breeding and selection in such
countries as India and the U.S.A. The guava bears heavy crops of fruit, which can
be eaten fresh or processed into a variety of products. These include juice,
puree, paste, jelly, canned "shells", etc. There is a substantial market for
guava products in the western hemisphere, and I believe that markets could be
developed elsewhere. The guava tree should grow well in many areas of southern
Ghana, particularly where the rainfall is high. The tree requires little care.
Several species of Annona are present in Ghana, but they are not well known.
The ones which would grow best in this country are as follows:
Annona muricata Soursop or Guanabana
Annona reticulata Custard apple
Annona squamosa Sugar apple
Annona hybrid Atemoya
Superior selections of the sugar apple and the atemoya are grown in Israel, South
Africa, Australia, and the U.S.A. I believe they would be well accepted in the
fresh fruit markets of Ghana.
Improvement of all these fruits could be accomplished by the same personnel
as would be conducting a mango improvement program, at the same locations. The
data taken in such a program need not be complicated. The important things are
adaptation of the plants to local conditions, heavy bearing, and fruit quality.
A selection program should be kept as simple as possible. As soon as a variety
or selection proves to be inferior for any reason, it should be eliminated,
because it costs money to maintain it.
The Government of Ghana should encourage private individuals to enter the
nursery business, so that superior plants would be widely available. Government
nurseries tend to be inefficient, expensive operations, whereas private nurseries
are forced to be rather efficient to stay in business.
1. Del Monte Corporation. Investment opportunities in the fish and agricultural
Canning industries. April, 1968.
2. Higgins, J. E. Technical evaluation of state cannery corporation facilities
in Accra, Ghana. Prepared for National Investment Bank and USAID. 1968.
3. INGRA Project of the tomato and mango canning factory in Wenchi Economic
Survey. Zagreb, Yugoslavia. 1963.
4. Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Ghana. Request for assistance from the
Special Fund of the UNDP for a pilot project for the development of
vegetable and fruit production. 1968.
5. National Investment Bank. Preliminary analysis of the agricultural and
economic viability of the state canneries, Ghana. July, 1967.
6. National Investment Bank. Descriptive summary of available information for
evaluation of the state canneries. Development Service Institute.
7. Owusu, P. M. Agricultural guide for Ghana farmers. Bulletin A-34. 1965.
8. Reusse, E. Ghana's food industries 1968. UNDP (Special Fund). April, 1968.
9. Ross, J. An analysis of government participation in Ghana's agro-industrial
development. Section I Fruit and vegetable processing. Nathan
Consortium for Sector Studies. 1969 (Draft).
10. Troescher, L10 First draft, evaluation report, State Cannery Corporation.
National Investment Bank. 1969.
11. Wills, J. B. (Editor). Agriculture and land use in Ghana. Oxford University
CITRUS PRODUCTION IN GHANA
Citrus fruits are an important crop in Ghana. The trees grow well and fruit
well in all parts of the forest zone and the transitional zone. Although there
are some large groves, most of the production comes from small plantings. Fresh
citrus fruits are sold in the markets all over Ghana. Various processed products
are produced, some for local consumption and some for export. This report sum-
marizes my observations on citrus production in Ghana and presents ways in which
yields and fruit quality could be improved.
II. CITRUS FRUITS GROWN IN GHANA
A. Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
This is by far the most commonly grown citrus fruit in Ghana. Most of the
trees are seedlings, and the quality of their fruit is extremely variable.
Variation occurs in skin thickness, juice content and soluble solids content.
There are some large groves of superior varieties budded on rough lemon rootstock.
Some budded trees are available from Government nurseries at reasonable prices.
University of Ghana and Ministry of Agriculture workers have imported
varieties from other countries and made many local selections. Research in
progress includes variety trials, fertilizer experiments and rootstock experiments.
Sweet orange fruits in Ghana seldom develop a good, uniform orange external
color. Ripe fruits usually retain some patches of green color. This is a pro-
blem wherever oranges are grown in lowland tropical areas.
B. Mandarin oranges (Citrus reticulata and related species)
These are sold for fresh consumption i#nuch the same manner as sweet oranges,
but in much lesser quantities. They are readily accepted in the markets. The
trees are seedlings for the most part, but there appears to be less variation
than there is among sweet orange seedlings.
C. Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
The lime is grown under more intensive care than any other citrus fruit in
Ghana. Processed lime products are an important export. There is little local
consumption of fresh fruit and processed products.
Most of the production comes from trees budded on rough lemon rootstock.
Even where seedling trees are grown, there is little variation in fruit quality.
Fruit quality is good. Limes are well adapted to the climate of Ghana.
Several kinds of citrus fruit are marketed as "lemons" in Ghana. Some
fruit of the true lemon (Citrus limon) is produced. Much of the crop appears to
be the rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri). Some evidently are hybrids between the
lemon and other citrus species. This is not unusual, but occurs commonly where
different citrus species are grown in close proximity and where farmers grow many
of their trees from seed. There is little production and consumption of lemons
in Ghana. Because of their susceptibility to lemon scab and other fungus
diseases, it is difficult to produce lemons of good fresh market quality in a
wet tropical climate.
E. Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
This fruit grows very well in Ghana. It is sold fresh in the urban markets.
Most of the crop is sold to expatriates, but consumption by the Ghanaian people
is increasing. Most of the trees are seedlings, and there is much variation in
fruit quality. Some fruits have many of the characteristics of the pummelo
(Citrus grandis), which is thought to be one parent of the grapefruit.
III. PRESENT CULTURAL METHODS
A. Area of production
Citrus trees grow very well in the forest zone and the traditional zone of
Ghana. The savanna areas are too dry for production of citrus without irrigation.
The soils of the forest zone are excellent for growing citrus, provided they are
well drained. Citrus trees will not tolerate flooding and poor drainage.
B. Planting stock
As discussed previously, many farmers plant seedlings. Undoubtedly some
production also comes from seedling trees which volunteer here and there on
farms or in the villages. Much of the lime crop comes from budded trees on
rough lemon rootstock. Some sweet orange trees budded on rough lemon rootstock
are available in government nurseries, and many farmers understand the value of
planting budded trees of superior varieties.
C. General care
The only care given to most citrus trees is watering immediately after
planting and control of weeds when the trees are small. Watering is done by
hand with buckets. Cutlasses are used to keep weeds under control.
D. Disease and pest control
Most of the citrus plantings in Ghana are not treated in any way for
control of pests and diseases. Even under these conditions, the trees grow
relatively well and produce fair crops of fruit.
Most trees receive no fertilizer. Where fertilizer is used in the limited
number of large groves, the trees show a favorable response.
IV. IMPORTANT FACTORS LIMITING YIELD AND FRUIT QUALITY
With' sweet orange, mandarin and grapefruit, this is a consideration of
the utmost importance. Quality of fruit on the market is extremely variable,
and consumers cannot be assured of receiving fruit of acceptable quality.
Adequate research work has already been done in Ghana to show that many superior
varieties are available. These varieties are superior not only in fruit quality,
but in yield. Significant progress in improvement of the citrus industry of
Ghana cannot be made without a program of variety improvement, followed by a
program of dissemination of the improved varieties to the farmers.
1. Fruit-piercing Moths:--It is estimated that there are more than 20
species of fruit-piercing moth of economic importance in Ghana. Agricultural
workers agree that they are the most important pests of citrus in the country.
Their damage is most severe toward the southern end of the forest zone. Where
large populations of moths occur, they can destroy up to 75% of the crop. They
attack particularly the sweet orange, piercing the skin of the fruit and sucking
out some juice. The wound is quickly invaded by soft-rot fungus organisms which
cause the fruit to rot and drop from the tree.
2. Scale insects:--Many species of scale insect infest the bark, leaves
and fruits of citrus trees in Ghana. Most farmers do not apply any control
measures, so the scale insects frequently build up very large populations,
causing reduction of tree growth, defoliation, fruit distortion and fruit drop.
Where severe infestations occur, they can reduce the fruit crop by 25% or more.
3. Aphids:--Several species of aphid infest citrus trees. They feed upon
very young shoots and leaves and cause the leaves to become distorted and curled,
reducing their photosynthetic effectiveness. They retard the growth of young
trees, but do not cause very serious damage to mature trees. One species, the
black citrus aphid, transmits the virus which causes tristeza, a destructive
disease of citrus.
4. Mites:--I have observed russeting of citrus fruits caused by mite
damage, but do not believe the damage would cause an appreciable reduction in
yield of fruit. Mites could become more important in the future under conditions
of more intensive citrus culture.
5. Shoot borer:--It is reported that a shoot borer damages the new growth
of citrus trees.The damage is particularly severe in citrus nurseries.
1. Gummosis (foot rot):--This disease is caused by the fungus Phytophthora
parasitica. It undoubtedly causes the death of more trees than any other disease
in Ghana. Sweet orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit are quite susceptible to
this disease. Rough lemon is moderately susceptible. Mandarins and sour orange
are relatively resistant to infection. The fungus attacks seedlings in the crown
area, usually below the soil surface. Budded trees are attacked at the bud union
or the crown. The fungus causes the death of the phloem and cambium tissues.
If the lesion completely encircles the trunk, the tree dies. Trees may live for
many years after they are infected, but their productivity is greatly reduced.
2. Tristeza:--Apparently this virus disease occurs throughout the citrus-
growing regions of Ghana. It is spread by aphids. The black citrus aphid is a
very efficient vector. The symptoms are rapid decline and death of susceptible
trees. Sour orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon are susceptible. It is not
advisable to grow seedlings of these species or to use them as rootstocks in
Ghana. Rough lemon, sweet orange and some mandarins are tolerant of the disease.
This has been recognized for a long time in Ghana, and is an important reason
for the adoption of rough lemon rootstock in the lime industry. Lime seedlings
will die quickly if they become infected, but lime trees budded on rough lemon
rootstock will tolerate the disease and continue to produce fruit.
3. Scab:--This disease is caused by the fungus Elsinoe fawcetti. It
attacks leaves, twigs and fruits of many kinds of citrus. Sour orange and lemon
are very susceptible. Grapefruit and some mandarins are moderately susceptible.
The lime is immune to infection. Development of the disease is favored by humid,
rainy weather. Damage in citrus nurseries is especially severe. I have seen
very severe infections on trees in the field in Ghana, also. Infected fruits
develop large protuberances on their surface as they mature. Damage includes
reduction in tree growth and bearing capacity, and reduction in amount of
marketable fruit (50% or more).
4. Other diseases:--I have not had time to make a comprehensive study of
citrus diseases in Ghana. There is no doubt that other fungus and virus diseases
occur in Ghana, but their effects are not apparent because of the damage done by
the more obvious diseases.
As mentioned previously, relatively little fertilizer is used on citrus
plantings in Ghana. Trees will grow relatively well for a long time without
fertilizer in the better soils. However, they will not produce heavy crops of
fruit for very many years without the use of some fertilizer. As citrus culture
becomes more intensive, the need for fertilizer will increase.
The lime and the grapefruit are well adapted to the climate of Ghana,
although grapefruits will develop a better yellow rind color in a cooler climate.
The sweet orange grows and fruits well in Ghana, but will not produce fruit
of the best quality. Sweet orange fruits which develop in a hot tropical climate
generally do not develop the acidity that is considered most desirable for pro-
cessing. They do develop satisfactory sugar content, however, and the fruit is
suitable for fresh consumption. The most serious defect of orange fruits grown
in Ghana is their poor external color. They do not develop a uniform orange color
on the rind as they mature, but retain patches of green. To my knowledge, there
is no cultural method which can be applied in the field to affect fruit color
appreciably. For fruits sold in the fresh market within Ghana, this does not
seem to be an important problem, because consumers do not demand a highly colored
fruit. Probably there is little hope of developing an export market for poorly
colored fresh fruit.
V. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INCREASING YIELDS
AND IMPROVING FRUIT QUALITY
A. General (arranged in order of importance)
1. Variety improvement:--With the exception of the lime industry, this is
the most important factor in citrus improvement in Ghana. Even with lime there
is some possibility of selection of improved varieties, but not nearly so much as
with most other kinds of citrus. Many improved citrus varieties have been im-
ported to Ghana already from other countries. However, there are many newer
varieties which have not been tried in Ghana, particularly the virus-free nucellar
strains of orange which have been developed in the U.S.A. in recent years. Some
of these have given extraordinarily good performance in other countries, and
should by all means be tried in Ghana (See Appendix I).
2. Disease control
(a) Gummosis: Some control of this disease can be attained by
cleaning the lesions and treating them with copper fungicides. This
is understood by research and extension workers in Ghana. However,
there is no really satisfactory means of control once a tree is in-
fected. The best method of control is the use of resistant rootstocks.
This will be discussed later.
(b) Tristeza: This destructive disease of citrus cannot be controlled
once a susceptible tree is infected. There is no hope of eradicating
the disease from Ghana, because it is well established here. The one
sure way to avoid damage from the disease is to plant trees budded on
tolerant rootstocks, such as rough lemon. Susceptible rootstocks,
such as sour orange, should never be used in an area where tristeza
disease occurs. All extension workers should be made aware of the
importance of tristeza and other virus diseases of citrus, so they
can help farmers to avoid the destructive effects of these diseases.
(c) Scab and other fungus diseases: A program of fungicide applica-
tion will be necessary if the maximum effects of a citrus improvement
program are to be realized. For a start, the best program would be
application of sprays of Bordeaux or neutral copper compounds at the
"petal-fall" stage following the major blooms. By all means, research
work should be done to determine the best times to apply fungicides
under the specific conditions of Ghana. Timing of sprays will depend
upon rainfall and upon frequency of flushes of vegetative growth and
bloom. The best equipment to use for fungicide application is a high-
pressure power sprayer with large air displacement. In the absence of
such equipment, the farmer should use the best equipment available
which will give fine dispersion of spray material and good coverage
of the foliage of the trees. Good disease control will be difficult
to attain in Ghana until more satisfactory equipment is available.
(d) Plant quarantine: It would be well for Government officials to
consider the eventual establishment of a system of inspection of in-
coming plant material, to prevent the importation of plant diseases.
A good quarantine and inspection system requires careful legislation
and well-trained personnel to be effective. Until such a system can
be established, research workers should obtain citrus propagating
material only from sources which can give reasonable assurance that
the material is free of disease.
3. Pest control
(a) Fruit-piercing moths: I do not believe that these insects can be
controlled by application of pesticides. Since they are a serious pest
of citrus, a strong attempt should be made to avoid their damage. Some
fruits are attacked before they are completely mature, but most of the
damage is done to mature fruits. If farmers will take the trouble to
examine the fruit frequently when it nears maturity, and then harvest
it promptly when it is mature, they can avoid much of the loss of fruit
caused by these pests.
(b) Scale insects: Where severe infestations occur, they should be
controlled by spray applications of appropriate pesticides, such as
malathion or parathion, or these combined with non-phytotoxic oils.
Research work is needed in Ghana to identify the scale insects which
are present and determine the best methods of control. Scale insects
are very important pests of citrus throughout the world.
(c) Aphids: It is doubtful to me that control of aphids is
economically justified in most of the small citrus groves of Ghana.
Where there are large plantings, and mechanical spray equipment is
available, control would be justified in case of very severe infesta-
tions. In citrus nurseries, where rapid growth of rootstock plants is
desired, control of aphids is essential. Most aphids can be controlled
easily with sprays of malathion.
(d) Mites: Mite control probably is justified only in large citrus
groves under intensive cultivation. It is difficult to control mites
satisfactorily. To my knowledge, there has been no research on the
mites infesting citrus in Ghana. Until research is done to identify
the mites present and determine means of control, little can be done
about them. Mites do not appear to be an important limiting factor to
citrus production here.
4. Rootstocks.--Almost all of the successful citrus industries of the
world are based upon groves of budded trees. Rootstocks are of the utmost im-
portance in citrus production. Each particular kind of citrus is compatible
only with certain rootstock species. Rootstocks vary in their susceptibility
to diseases, and in their adaptation to different soils. Some research has
already been done on rootstocks for citrus in Ghana. Particularly good rootstock
trials are in progress at the University of Ghana Agricultural Research Station,
Kade. So far rough lemon has been the best rootstock for most citrus in Ghana.
It would be well for workers in Ghana to continue to obtain promising rootstocks
from the citrus research centers of the world, because it is quite possible that
something better than rough lemon can be found. For example, Citrus macrophylla,
a Philippine species, shows promise as a rootstock for lime in Florida, U.S.A.
Some of the citranges from California, U.S.A., might do well in Ghana. These
things can be determined only by research.
5. Fertilizer:--Good research work on fertilizer is in progress at the
University of Ghana Agricultural Research Station, Kade. If these experiments
are carried to completion, they will form a basis for fertilizer recommendations
for citrus plantings in the forest soils of Ghana. It would be well to have com-
parable experiments in other citrus areas of the country. It is especially de-
sirable that extension workers be advised of the progress of research work on
these and other crops. Perhaps this could be done by holding short courses for
extension workers periodically. These courses should be conducted by the persons
actually involved in the research work. Close contact between research and
extension workers is desirable for effective transfer of information.
B. Specific citrus fruits
1. Lime:--Because consumption of fresh limes in Ghana is small, and does
not seem likely to increase much in the future, it is well to emphasize produc-
tion for processing and export. This enterprise has been carried on successfully
for a long time in Ghana, and it is reasonable to believe that it could be ex-
panded. By-products such as lime oil are in particular demand in the world
The most important improvement which could be made in lime culture would
be the discovery of a rootstock which would be compatible with lime, tolerant
of tristeza disease, and resistant or immune to gummosis and root rot diseases.
It is well worth the expenditure of money on research work to accomplish this.
2. Orange:--Variety improvement should have priority in a research program
on this fruit. Research workers already have found varieties with sufficiently
different times of maturity to make fresh oranges available throughout the year
in Ghana. In addition, virus-free varieties of orange should be introduced from
other countries. Many of these have been developed within the past 10 years in
the U.S.A. (Florida and California) and have proved to be extremely vigorous
At first, emphasis should be placed upon supplying the fresh market and
the market for processed products, such as marmalade and squash, within Ghana.
Later, as personnel at the processing factories develop the ability to produce
products of high quality, an effort should be made to develop an export trade
in these products.
It would be possible to produce oranges for processing into frozen concen-
trate in Ghana. I believe this could be done successfully only if very large
groves were developed groves of several hundred acres each and the operation
was highly mechanized. The orange concentrate business is a highly competitive
one and should only be undertaken by persons who are well trained and thoroughly
familiar with modern citrus technology.
3. Mandarins:--Although these find a good market as fresh fruit, they do
not have as much possibility for future expansion as oranges, because the fruit
is quite perishable and not as useful for processing as the orange. Neverthe-
less, they grow and bear well in Ghana, and are worth developing for the fresh
market. Research work is in progress to find better varieties, and this is the
proper place for emphasis at this time.
4. Grapefruit:--Variety improvement is essential for the improvement of
grapefruit quality in Ghana. Emphasis should be placed on production for fresh
market. Consumption of grapefruit is small now, but probably will increase
slowly in the future.
5. Lemon:--Some research work in variety improvement is being done in
Ghana now. There are many areas of the world better adapted to lemon production
than Ghana, and I do not believe that an expansion of the research program is
justified at this time.
Many kinds of citrus fruit grow exceedingly well in Ghana. Yields and
quality of fruit are poor because of poor varieties, lack of care, and damage
by pests and diseases. Research work is in progress on several aspects of citrus
culture. Much more research work is needed. As research results become avail-
able, they need to be made known to extension workers, so they can convey the
information to the people who need it most the farmers. Governmental aid and
encouragement is needed at every level of the citrus improvement program.
Citrus fruits are important in Ghana. From fresh oranges, the people get
much of the vitamin C which is so important, and so often deficient in the diet
of people in the Tropics. Citrus products are being imported into Ghana. They
could be manufactured within the country from local fruit. Lime products have
been exported from Ghana for a long time. That export could be increased, and
it is possible that export of other citrus products could be developed in the
I wish to thank Mr. S. K. Karikari, University of Ghana Agricultural
Research Station, Kade, and Messrs. Nelson and Sackey, State Farms Corporation,
Ministry of Agriculture, for helping me to become acquainted with citrus
production and research in Ghana.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A CITRUS VARIETY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
I. General Comments: Citrus nursery techniques are understood by research
workers in Ghana. Nurseries are maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and
by several educational institutions. The following suggestions are offered as
a possible supplement to existing programs:
II. Varieties available: I am acquainted primarily with varieties in commercial
production in the U.S.A. There are many other citrus varieties in other coun-
tries. If at all possible, graftwood should be obtained from reliable sources
and be free of harmful virus diseases.
A. Sweet orange
2. Parson Brown
C. Grapefruit Numerous varieties available
D. Mandarin Numerous varieties available
E. Lime Several virus free selections of Tahiti lime available
III. Sources of graftwood in U.S.A.
A. U.S. Department of Agriculture, New Crops Research Branch, Plant
Introduction Section, Beltsville, Maryland.
B. University of California, Citrus Research Center, Riverside, California.
C. Florida Department of Agriculture, Budwood Registration Office, Winter
IV. Precautions in handling and maintaining virus-free citrus selections
A. Always bud on vigorous young rootstocks.
B. Never bud on rootstocks which have been budded previously.
C. Keep all plants labelled accurately at all times.
D. Establish a foundation planting from the original budwood. Label trees
permanently and use them as permanent source of budwood.
V. Data to be taken in variety trials at regular intervals.
A. Vegetative growth
1. Trunk diameter
2. Tree height
3. Size of tree canopy
B. Flowering and fruiting
1. Date of first bloom
2. Date of first fruiting
3. Date of fruit maturity
4. Fruit size
5. Fruit quality
(a) External color, texture
(b) Internal flavor, solids, acids, juice content
6. Fruit yield
1. Susceptibility to disease
2. Susceptibility to insect damage
1. Del Monte Corporation. Investment opportunities in the fish and agricul-
tural canning industries a preliminary survey. April, 1968.
2. Higgins, J. E. Technical evaluation of State Cannery Corporation facilities
in Ghana. Prepared for National Investment Bank and U.S.A.I.D. 1968.
3. Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Ghana. Request for Assistance from
the Special Fund of the UNDP for a pilot project for the development
of vegetable and fruit production. 1968.
4. National Investment Bank. Descriptive summary of available information
for evaluation of the state canneries. November, 1967.
5. Pospisil, F. Annual Report 1966/67. Agricultural Research Station,
University of Ghana, Kade. June, 1968.
6. Ross, J. An analysis of government participation in Ghana's Agro-industrial
development, Section I. Fruit and vegetable processing. Nathan
Consortium for Sector Studies. 1969.
7. Whitby, P. Foods of Ghana. Food Research Institute Bulletin 1. 1968.
8. Wills, J. B. (Editor). Agriculture and Land Use in Ghana. Oxford
University Press, London. 1962.
PINEAPPLE PRODUCTION IN GHANA
The climate of Ghana is favorable for pineapple cultivation. Pineapples can
be grown throughout the country, but will grow considerably better in some areas
than in others. The crop is utilized both for fresh fruit and for processing.
This report summarizes the present condition of the pineapple industry in Ghana
and presents ways in which production and fruit quality can be improved.
II. PRESENT METHODS OF CULTIVATION
A. Location of Production
Some pineapples are grown throughout Ghana. By far the greatest production
is in the forest zone and the transitional zone. The greatest concentration is
in the Cape Coast area, where pineapple cultivation has been popular for several
decades. It is estimated that there are about 3500 acres of pineapple grown in
Ghana. Most of the production is on very small farms.
The pineapple grows well under the temperature conditions of Ghana, with
relatively high day and night temperatures. The plant will tolerate a wide varia-
tion in water supply. It can be grown successfully within a range of 20 to 80
inches annual rainfall. In Ghana, most pineapple production is in areas where
the rainfall varies from 40 to 70 inches per year. No irrigation is needed under
The soils in which most of the pineapples are grown in ChanL ;ire quite
satisfactory for this purpose. The forest soils are acid in reaction, so that
iron and other minor elements are available to the plants. Pineapple is
particularly susceptible to iron deficiency. Fortunately, this need not be a
problem in Ghana because of the large areas of soils well adapted to pineapple
Good drainage is essential for the growth of the pineapple plant. This is
well understood by pineapple growers in Ghana. Flooding or poor drainage cause
damage to the root system and favor the development of root rot organisms.
Planting sites must be chosen with this condition in mind.
The variety 'Sugar Loaf' is produced in greatest quantity. The plant has
spiny leaves. The fruit is long and conical in shape. The external color of the
ripe fruit is light green, with occasional patches of light yellow. The flesh of
the fruit is white. The fruit is very sweet. It has a high sugar content and a
low acid content. Fruits are large, often weighing up to 8 or 9 pounds. This is
a good fresh market variety, but is not very satisfactory for processing. This
variety produces a good supply of slips and suckers, so there is no difficulty in
obtaining planting material.
There is some production of the 'Smooth Cayenne' variety. The plant has
leaves without spines. The fruit is cylindrical in shape. The flesh of the ripe
fruit is light yellow. The fruit is sweet, but has more acid than the 'Sugar
Loaf'. The sugar to acid ratio and the shape of the fruit make the 'Smooth
Cayenne' more desirable for processing than the 'Sugar Loaf'. The 'Smooth Cayenne'
has more yellow external color on the ripe fruit than the 'Sugar Loaf'. As much
as one half of the surface of the fruit is yellow, the rest being light green.
The 'Smooth Cayenne' strain grown in Ghana produces very few slips and suckers,
so it is difficult to obtain planting material. Apparently this is due partly to
the poor cultural methods and resultant low vigor of the plants and partly to the
genetic makeup of the particular strain.
Some "local" strains of pineapple are grown in Ghana also. They have not
been well described by horticulturists. Evidently they are well accepted in the
Estimates of yield by different sources vary considerably. Average yield
in Ghana seems to be about 7 to 10 tons per acre. This is low compared to produc-
tion in many parts of the Tropics. In Hawaii, 30 tons per acre is considered a
Except for variation in planting time, the pineapple grower in Ghana has no
control over the timing of fruit maturity. Consequently, flowering and fruiting
are controlled largely by climatic factors. For example, a period of dry weather
can initiate flowering of all the plants in a field which are old enough to bloom.
The result of this is a great fluctuation in the supply of fruit at different
times of the year. When fruit is plentiful, the price is low and much fruit goes
to waste. When fruit is scarce, the price is high.
G. Cultivation Methods
Soil preparation is done with hand tools. Plants are set at rather wide
spacings, with rows 3 to 6 feet apart and plants 2 to 3 feet apart in the row.
Weeds are controlled with a cutlass or hoe. Fields are not renovated or replanted
very often. After the initial planting, subsequent crops are allowed to grow in
place, from suckers, with occasional replacement of missing plants. This may be
continued for 7 or 8 years. By that time the field is in very poor condition, and
the land is allowed to lie fallow for several years before it is cleared and
No fertilizer is used in most of the pineapple fields.
Nematodes often build up large enough populations in older fields to harm
the root systems of the plants. No form of control is used.
A rodent, the grass cutter, does some damage by eating tender parts of the
pineapple plants. The people of Ghana like to eat these animals, and hunt them
diligently. This furnishes fair control.
Root rot and heart rot have been reported as occurring in several areas of
Ghana. These diseases are caused by the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. The
development of these diseases is promoted by poor soil drainage and by moist
Some fruit is lost from soft rot during the time from harvest until it is
sold to the consumer. This is caused primarily by rough handling of the fruit and
lack of good transportation and storage conditions.
I have not observed enough of the pineapple harvest to be able to estimate
how much of the crop is lost from disease in the field, but my impression is that
the loss is not great. No disease control is practiced in the pineapple industry
The fruits are cut from the plants, carried to the nearest road, and stacked
in the sun until they can be picked up by truck. Many fruits are damaged by rough
handling and many are sunburned. These injuries allow the entry of disease organ-
isms, which cause the fruits to rot. Often the fruit is hauled for long distances
(100 miles or more) over rough roads.
K. Utilization of the Crop
Much of the crop is consumed fresh. The fruit is sold at the roadside near
the production areas or trucked to the cities and sold in the markets there.
Quality of fruit in the fresh market is variable, mostly because of variation
in maturity at harvest. Fruit which is allowed to become mature before harvest
is of excellent quality for fresh consumption.
Some of the crop is processed by private and Government canneries. The
pineapple processing industry is summarized very well in the report by Ross (9).
III. IMPORTANT LIMITING FACTORS, AND SUGGESTIONS FOR
IMPROVEMENT OF PRODUCTION AND FRUIT QUALITY
A. General Culture
Every aspect of pineapple cultivation in Ghana needs improvement. As it
stands, it is a haphazard operation. Personnel of the Extension Division should
do their best to teach the farmers better methods. Fields should be planted with
uniform, vigorous planting stock. Fields should not be kept in production for
more than one or, at most, two ratoon crops. Attention should be given to plant
populations. Present plantings in Ghana have very low plant populations. This
is a wasteful practice because the full potential of the land is not being
utilized. Wide spacing and consequent reduction in plant competition causes
fruit sizes to be very large. This is undesirable both for fresh market and for
processing. Closely spaced, uniform plantings will produce uniform, smaller sized
fruits. Optimum plant spacing must be determined by experimentation. Probably a
population of 15,000 to 20,000 plants per acre would be suitable for conditions
in Ghana. Present populations are probably less than half of that.
1. Fruit quality
(a) Shape. For fresh market, fruit shape is not very important. For
processing, it is important to have a cylindrical fruit that can be cut
up by machine with little waste and a low percentage of low-grade pro-
duct. The 'Smooth Cayenne' fruit is much superior to the 'Sugar Loaf'
fruit in this respect.
(b) Sugars and acids. Most people prefer a very sweet fruit for fresh
consumption. The 'Sugar Loaf' variety is sweeter than the 'Smooth
Cayenne'. Processors prefer a fruit which has a fair amount of acid in
addition to high sugar content. The 'Smooth Cayenne' fruit is considered
much superior to that of the 'Sugar Loaf for processing on this basis.
2. Fruit size.--This was discussed previously in relation to plant popula-
tion, which has a strong effect on fruit size. Fruit size also differs according
to variety. The 'Sugar Loaf' variety has fruits which are quite large. Fruits
of the 'Smooth Cayenne' are considerably smaller, and are preferable for process-
ing. Fruit size is not so important for fresh market, but in many countries
smaller sizes are preferred to larger sizes.
C. Propagating Material
The 'Sugar Loaf' variety produces adequate slips and suckers to furnish
plenty of planting stock. The 'Smooth Cayenne' variety produces very few slips
and suckers. As discussed previously, this is due partly to the genetic limita-
tions of the variety and partly to poor cultural conditions in Ghana. There has
been some research in Ghana on the use of modified stem cutting techniques to
increase the amount of planting stock of 'Smooth Cayenne'. This research has met
with only limited success. Research in other parts of the world has led to the
development of strains of 'Smooth Cayenne' which produce more slips and suckers.
These should be obtained by research workers in Ghana and propagated and dissemi-
nated as widely as possible. I believe that this approach is preferable to the
establishment of a variety breeding program in Ghana. A breeding program would
require many years and involve considerable expense. It would be quicker and much
cheaper to acquire superior strains which have been developed in other pineapple
production areas, such as Hawaii, Kenya or South Africa.
Until something is done to increase the supply of planting stock, little can
be done to expand production of the 'Smooth Cayenne' pineapple in Ghana.
Most pineapple growers in Ghana use no fertilizer at all. Many of the fields
I have seen show symptoms of nitrogen deficiency. Other fertilizer elements may
be deficient also. There has not been research work done in Ghana to determine the
fertilizer requirements of pineapple. Varieties and planting methods should receive
first emphasis in a pineapple improvement program, but eventually some attention
must be given to fertilizer needs if high yields are to be attained.
Little work has been done on the diseases of pineapple in Ghana. If improved
cultural practices are adopted and pineapple production becomes more intensive in
the future, control of diseases will assume ever greater importance. Research on
disease incidence and control must have a place in the general improvement program.
It is not surprising that nematodes build up large populations in pineapple
fields, because the fields are kept in production much longer than they should be
without renovation. If pineapple production is modernized in Ghana, and large
farms become more numerous, it is likely that the use of chemical soil fumigation
will become feasible and desirable. For the present, the best method of practical
control is land rotation. As a general rule, farmers should keep a planting in
production through the first crop and one ratoon crop, or at most two ratoon crops.
Then the land should be planted for two or more years to crops which are not
susceptible to nematodes.
The foregoing factors all play a part in the eventual yield which the pine-
apple will produce. As indicated above, some factors are more important than
others. Present yields in Ghana are around 10 tons of fruit per acre. In order to
get production up to the level of the world's best producers, 20 to 30 tons per
acre, improvement will have to be made in all aspects of culture. Each factor
exerts some limiting effect on yield, no matter how much improvement is made in
the other limiting factors.
H. Regulation of Fruit Supply
Marketing of pineapples in Ghana is very much affected by the extreme
fluctuations in fruit supply which occur from one season to another. Chemical
regulation of flowering and fruiting of pineapple has been worked out to a very
fine degree in some parts of the world. There is every reason to think that these
methods could be directly applied in Ghana. Several chemicals have been used, but
the most commonly used ones now are sodium naphthalene-acetic acid (SNA) and
B-hydroxyethylhydrazine (BOH). These chemicals, applied as sprays at the rate of
about 20 grams of active material per acre, cause visible flowering in about 30
days, and mature fruit forms in 6 months after application.
Thus, a pineapple grower can cause his plants to flower and fruit at almost
any time he desires, provided the plants are well established and healthy, and are
large enough to produce a normal fruit.
These materials are in commercial use in several parts of the world. They
have been tested and found to work in Ghana. If these materials could be made
available in Ghana, the farmers could time the maturity of their crop so that ripe
fruit was produced in steady supply throughout the year.
I. Harvesting and Handling
Much more fruit than necessary is lost because of carelessness in the
harvesting and handling of the crop. Fruits should be snapped from the plants
rather than cut, so they do not retain a sharp piece of the peduncle, which can
injure other fruits. Fruits should not be stacked in the sun, but should be
shaded and picked up and hauled to the market or the factory as quickly as possible.
Fruit should be handled carefully at all stages of these operations. Eventually
It would be desirable to install cooling facilities at factories and terminal mar-
kets, for cooling of any fruit which has to be held for more than few hours.
J. Location of Production
It would be well to have production areas located as close as possible to
the places where the fruit is processed or sold to consumers. There are plenty of
good soils for pineapple production within a relatively few miles of all the pro-
cessing plants and large population centers of Ghana. Programs to encourage such
developments could eventually save a lot of money in transportation costs and in
fruit lost by spoilage.
K. Size of Farms
Small farms produce almost all of the pineapple crop in Ghana today. I
believe that small farms can continue to supply the fresh market for a long time
to come. However, I do not believe that an expanded, profitable processing indus-
try can be developed with fruit supplied only by small farms. It will be necessary
to devise some way to produce fruit in larger units in order to supply fruit in
sufficient quantity and orderly enough manner to supply large canneries.
Ghana has a favorable climate and an abundance of soils for good pineapple
production. At present almost the entire crop is sold within the country. Con-
sumption of both fresh fruit and processed products is likely to increase in the
future. With a relatively small improvement in production practices, enough fruit
could be produced to easily supply the domestic market. If large increases in
production occur, it will be necessary to find export markets. If fresh fruit of
good quality is produced, I believe it could be exported to Europe successfully.
Quality is very important in a fresh fruit market. I believe also that some export
trade in processed products could be developed. Here again, quality is important.
High grade products bring good prices while the less desirable grades produce
little profit. I believe that pineapple production could be developed profitably
in the future in Ghana.
In preparing this report, I have found two references to be especially helpful.
They are the report of G. A. Johannessen to the National Investment Bank, Accra,
and the report of J. E. Ross to the Nathan Consortium for Sector Studies, Ministry
of Finance and Economic Planning, Accra.
1. Del Monte Corp. Investment opportunities in the fish and agricultural canning
industries a preliminary survey. 1968.
2. Higgins, J. E. Technical evaluation of state cannery corporation facilities
in Ghana. Prepared for National Investment Bank and USAID. 1968.
3. Johannessen, G. A. A summary of observations and recommendations on Ghanaian
tomato and pineapple production. Prepared for National Investment Bank
and USAID. 1968.
4. Ministry of Agriculture. Request for assistance from the Special Fund of the
UNDP for a pilot project for the development of vegetable and fruit
5. Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Report on agricultural survey on pineapples
in Edina State. 1960..
6. National Investment Bank. Descriptive summary of available information for
evaluation of the state canneries. 1967.
7. Owusu, P. M. Agricultural guide for Ghana farmers. Bulletin A-34. 1965.
8. Reusse, E. Ghana's food industries 1968. UN Development Program (Special
9. Ross, J. E. An analysis of government participation in Ghana's agro-industrial
development. Section I: Fruit and vegetable processing. Nathan
Consortium for Sector Studies. 1969.
10. Societe des Ananas de la "Cote d'Ivoire. Report on pineapple in Ivory
Coast. (No date).
11. Troescher, L. First draft-Evaluation Report, State Cannery Corporation.
National Investment Bank. 1969.
12. Wills, J. B. (Editor). Agriculture and land use in Ghana. Oxford
University Press, London. 1962.
TOMATO PRODUCTION IN GHANA
The tomato is an important vegetable crop in Ghana. Fresh tomatoes find a
ready market in the cities, and frequently are in short supply during the dry
season. Relatively large amounts of canned tomato products are consumed in the
country. A small amount of tomato processing is done in Ghana, but much of the
market volume of tomato products has to be imported.
Over the past few years considerable attention has been given to increasing
tomato production in Ghana, with emphasis on a supply of fruit for the processing
factories. Several research workers have conducted variety trials, fertilizer
experiments and irrigation experiments in the different production areas. Various
consultants have been brought in to assess the tomato industry. I have studied
the reports of these workers and then travelled to the different production areas
of Ghana, observing cultural practices, harvesting and marketing. My report is
based on these activities.
II. PRESENT SITUATION
A. Areas of Production
Tomatoes are grown to some extent all over Ghana. Production is most con-
centrated in the eastern coastal savanna and in certain parts of the interior
savanna. Much of the fruit produced in northern Ghana is transported long dis-
tances by truck and sold in the southern cities. The long journey over rough roads
causes considerable loss of fruit from injury and spoilage.
B. Production Practices
1. Varieties.--The local strains of tomato, derived from stock introduced
long ago from America, are very primitive and undesirable by modern horticultural
standards. The plants are small, with sparse foliage. Because of the lack of
protection by the leaves, the fruits are sunburned frequently. The plants are
indeterminate in flowering habit, so the fruit crop matures over a long period of
time, requiring many harvests. The fruits are small and irregular in shape, tend-
ing to be deeply segmented. They are not desirable for processing because they
have a hard core, low soluble solids content, and rather poor color. Although the
plants are able to set fruit in the relatively warm climate of Ghana, they appar-
ently are not capable of very high yields even under good growing conditions.
Average yields are around 2 tons per acre. The best farmers produce up to 5 tons
per acre with the aid of water and fertilizer.
2. Size of farms.--Most tomato farms are very small. Various figures for
average farm size are given in reports from different governmental agencies.
Probably the average unit of tomato production is less than one acre in size.
3. Methods of cultivation.--Tomato culture in Ghana is intensive, even
though the methods used are relatively primitive. The soil is usually prepared
by hoeing. Where ditch irrigation is available, the plants are grown in raised
beds. Where watering is done by hand, the plants are grown on mounds.
Seedlings are grown in nursery beds and transplanted to the field. Usually
no program of disease control is applied to the nursery.
In the field, the plants are staked and usually pruned to a single stem.
The plants are indeterminate, so flowering and fruit set occur over a considerable
period of time. Therefore, fruit must be harvested several times from any given
4. Soils.--Tomatoes are grown in a variety of soils in Ghana, as in other
countries. The most important requirement is good drainage. Flooding or water-
logging of the soil will injure or kill tomato plants quickly. In general, the
location of tomato plantings in Ghana is determined by the availability of water
primarily, and the quality of the soil is a secondary consideration.
5. Plant spacing.--Plants are generally grown at spacings which give
populations of 5000 to 7000 plants per acre.
6. Irrigation.--Some fruit is produced in irrigation projects or near wells,
where water is available for production during the dry season. Most of the crop
is grown during the rainy season without irrigation, except for hand watering of
young plants. The rainfall in most of Ghana is adequate to produce one crop of
tomatoes. However, the rainfall often is poorly distributed, and lack of water
frequently is limiting to plant growth and fruit production.
The practice of growing the plants on mounds is advisable where the soils are
heavy and poorly drained, because mounding facilitates drainage. However, mounds
often are used even in well drained soils and this accentuates the damage when any
shortage of water occurs.
7. Fertilizer.--This is another important limiting factor to tomato produc-
tion in Ghana. Most farmers understand that fertilizer can improve growth and
increase yields, but very little fertilizer is actually used on the farms. Most
farmers do not have the money to buy fertilizer before the crop is sold. Some
farmers make and use compost, but usually have enough to cover only a small area.
Some fertilizer has been made available on credit through governmental agencies,
but not enough to have much effect on tomato production.
8. Disease control.--Plant diseases reduce tomato production to a consider-
able extent. Very little disease control is practiced by tomato farmers in Ghana.
Most fungus and bacterial diseases become severe in times of rainy weather.
Several fungus organisms cause damage or death of young seedlings in the nursery
beds. Leaf diseases (Alternaria, Cladosporium, Septoria) do much damage to plants
in the field. Several wilt diseases (bacterial wilt, Fusarium, Verticillium) are
present, and capable of causing severe damage. Virus diseases sometimes cause
Undoubtedly other tomato diseases are present in Ghana, and contribute to the
general decrease in fruit production caused by disease.
9. Pest control.--Little or no pest control measures are applied in tomato
production. Nematodes are present in the soil of all production areas, and harm-
ful populations build up quickly if successive crops of tomatoes or other suscep-
tible species are grown in the same soil. They damage the root system of the plant,
rendering it unproductive. Fruitworms and grasshoppers cause much damage by feed-
ing on the fruits or the leaves of the plants. Aphids and leaf hoppers do some
damage by feeding upon the leaves, but the most severe damage is done by the virus
diseases they transmit. Undoubtedly other pests do damage to the tomato crop.
These are the more obvious ones.
C. Research Work
For several years, research work on tomato production has been conducted by
personnel of several agencies, including the Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research (Crops Research Institute, Food Research Institute and Soils Research
Institute), Ministry of Agriculture (Crop Production Division, Irrigation Division),
University of Ghana, University of Science and Technology, FAO and USAID. Recent-
ly these workers and other interested persons have held a series of meetings to
present and discuss research results and plan future work.
1. Variety trials.--These have been done in the northern savanna, the
transitional zone, the forest zone and the coastal savanna. Many different
varieties have been included, from all over the world, and several have proved to
yield more fruit and have better quality than local types. Emphasis has been on
varieties for processing, because of the desire to supply the new Government
canneries with raw material. So far, the canneries have processed tomatoes only
in trial runs. Many varieties developed in other countries have failed to set
fruit well in Ghana, because of the well-known failure of many tomatoes to set
fruit when night temperatures remain at 700F or higher during bloom. However, a
few varieties have been found to set fruit well under the temperature conditions
in the tomato production areas of Ghana.
2. Fertilizer experiments.--In general, all experiments have shown increases
in yields from the use of fertilizer. Insufficient experimentation has been done
for the development of specific fertilizer recommendations.
3. Irrigation.--Limited experiments indicate a need for 2 inches of irriga-
tion water per week during the dry season for tomato production in the northern
4. Processing quality.--This research has indicated clearly the undesir-
ability of local strains of tomato for processing. Some of the introduced varie-
ties have proved to have color, texture and soluble solids content suitable for
processing of satisfactory tomato products.
5. Summary.--It is not surprising that tomato yields are low in Ghana,
considering all the factors which obviously are limiting production. However,
the occurrence of these factors should not be a cause for despair. Research
workers and farmers in other countries have determined ways to correct or control
most of the factors limiting tomato production, and the same thing can be done in
Ghana if Government officials are willing to invest enough to carry out the neces-
sary research and to convey the information to the farmers.
A good start has been made on a research program already. The fact that the
different organizations involved in the program are willing to cooperate is a good
cause for optimism that great progress can be made in the future.
III. SUGGESTIONS FOR INCREASING PRODUCTION OR REDUCING COSTS
A. Production Practices
Enormous sums of money have been spent in some countries on research in
tomato production. Much of the information developed in these programs is avail-
able for the asking. Workers in Ghana should make every effort to obtain informa-
tion from.research programs in other countries. Some of the recommendations
probably can be applied in Ghana without change. Others will require adaptation
to local conditions, but at least will give a good start toward finding the
1. Varieties.--There is little use to employ improved cultural practices
in Ghana unless improved varieties are used also. Research work already has
demonstrated that some introduced varieties will yield 10 to 15 tons of fruit per
acre, instead of the 2 to 5 tons from local types (such yields require the appli-
cation of good cultural practices). It should be the aim of the Ghanaian Govern-
ment to make plants of these varieties available to farmers.
2. Seeds.--Basic to any program of variety improvement in vegetable crops
is the availability of viable seeds which are true to type. The production of
such seeds requires experience and great attention to detail. To my knowledge,
there is no organization in Ghana which is qualified or equipped for large-scale
production of suitable seeds of tomato varieties. Therefore, for the present,
seeds should be obtained from foreign companies. Some workable means of distribu-
tion should be developed. Import restrictions should be adjusted so the seeds can
be brought in with a minimum of difficulty and expense.
In the meantime, the Government should encourage the development of sources
of seeds in Ghana. It may be that, with suitable incentives (such as profit),
private groups could be encouraged to undertake this activity. No matter how it
is done, it is essential to have good seeds available.
3. Fertilizer.--With local tomato varieties, response to fertilizer
application is limited by the genetic capability of the plant. Even so, use of
fertilizer can double production if rainfall is sufficient. Given superior varie-
ties and sufficient water, yields can be trebled by the use of fertilizer. Consi-
dering the present low usage of fertilizer, I believe it will be necessary for the
Government to offer some sort of incentive, such as credit, in order to increase
fertilizer use appreciably. Some of this has been done already, but the program
should be enlarged. Hopefully, as farmers improve their operations, increasingly
less Government help should be needed.
4. Water.--This is a very important factor in tomato production, and one
which is difficult to do anything about without incurring considerable expense.
Where irrigated land is available, favorable consideration certainly should be
given to growing tomatoes on it, especially for the fresh market. With good varie-
ties and fertilizer, it will not be difficult to make a profit growing tomatoes on
Where farmers must depend upon rainfall, they should make every effort to
utilize the water to the best advantage. Flat planting is preferable to mounding
if the soil is well-drained. Mulches should be used if possible. Use of weeds as
mulch serves several purposes--weed control, conservation of water, and addition
of organic matter to the soil. If plant material is not available, mulches of
paper or opaque plastic could be used. In the U.S.A., these usually are applied
by machine, but they can be applied by hand also.
5. Disease control.--Successful control of most plant diseases requires a
preventive type of program, rather than a corrective program. A program of disease
control is essential for the attainment of high yields.
Fungus diseases of the leaves and the fruit can be controlled by spray
application of fungicides. Frequency of application depends upon the occurrence
of rainfall, which washes the fungicide from plant parts and leaves them unprotect-
ed. The carbamate fungicides (Zineb, Maneb, Dithane M-45, etc.) are used more
than any other materials for control of fungus diseases of tomato. Farmers should
use methods of application which are most appropriate to their operation. Sprays
are preferable to dusts. On large farms, it is most efficient to apply sprays
with mechanically powered equipment. Small farmers can use a knapsack sprayer or
other hand powered equipment to good advantage.
Special attention should be given to disease control in nursery beds.
Under these conditions, where the plants are very close together, fungus diseases
can destroy an entire bed in a very short time if they are not controlled.
Soil-borne fungus and bacterial diseases present a different problem. If
such diseases as Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt or bacterial wilt build up in
the soil, the most feasible thing to do is move the tomato operation to land which
is not infested. The infested land should be left fallow or planted to non-
susceptible crops for several years.
Virus diseases are spread by insects (aphids, leaf hoppers). The insects
must be controlled if virus diseases are to be prevented. In practice, it is im-
possible to completely prevent their occurrence. The best that can be done is to
keep them down to a minimum level until a crop of fruit is produced.
6. Pest control.--Nematodes probably are the most important pest of tomatoes
in Ghana. They can be controlled by soil fumigation, but this is an expensive
process and I doubt that it will be used much in Ghana in the near future, except
for seedbeds. Fumigation is highly recommended for seedbeds, and in fact is
almost essential unless the seedbed is located in new soil each year.
The alternative to soil fumigation for nematode control is land rotation.
If sufficient land is available, probably the best system is to grow tomatoes on
a given piece of land only one year out of three. The land is planted to non-
susceptible crops in the other two years. In some soils, tomatoes undoubtedly
could be grown for several years before nematodes develop large populations, but
it is likely that they would become a problem eventually in most locations.
Insects such as fruitworms and grasshoppers, which feed upon the fruit or
the leaves of the plant, are best controlled by spray or dust application of
insecticides. Aphids and leaf hoppers can be controlled in the same manner.
Farmers must be alert to detect the presence of these pests before they do serious
damage to the plants. Control measures should be applied promptly, using the
same equipment that is used for application of fungicides.
7. Soils.--Tomatoes should always be grown on the best soil that is
available in the particular situation. However, tomatoes can be grown in a great
variety of soils, provided they are well drained. With proper attention to ferti-
lizer and irrigation, excellent crops are produced in some parts of the world in
very light infertile soils. It is important that cultural practices, particularly
fertilizer application, be adapted to the specific conditions in the local area.
Soil analysis and careful observation of plant growth and yield give the best
indications of the success of the fertilizer program.
8. General considerations.--Attention should be given at all times to making
the farming operation as efficient as possible. The methods employed should be
adapted to the specific situation in every case. Mechanization should be employed
only if its use is justified. General farm sanitation, weed control, etc. are not
primary factors in increasing production, but they each contribute, and should
not be neglected.
9. Yields.--With superior varieties and a program of fertilization, disease
and pest control, tomato yields in Ghana could be increased from the present level
of about 2 tons per acre up to 10 tons per acre in a period of 5 years. Probably
a more realistic goal would be an increase to 5 or 6 tons per acre in that period
B. Farm Size
Significant increases in tomato production could be attained by the farmers
of Ghana without a change in the size of farms. If transportation and good roads
are available, and distances to the market are not great, fresh market tomatoes
can be produced profitably on small units of land.
However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully operate
processing plants on a supply of fruit from farms of one acre or less in size.
Obviously there are many political and social problems involved in changing the
size of farms in Ghana. Nevertheless, a strong attempt should be made to
encourage the development of farms of 20 to 50 acres, or even larger, for produc-
tion of fruit for processing. With larger land units it becomes possible to ef-
fectively utilize much mechanical equipment which cannot be used economically on
very small farms.
1. General.--Good progress has been made in research on tomato production
in Ghana, but much more needs to be done. The program is hampered by lack of
funds, facilities and personnel. It is false economy to operate a research pro-
gram under such conditions, because future progress depends greatly upon today's
research program. The present effort of the research workers to meet periodically
and discuss their observations is an excellent practice, and should be encouraged
by Government officials.
Some way should be devised to ensure better coordination of the research
program, so that results of experiments in one area can be meaningfully compared
with results from other areas. Good coordination of research programs of this
sort generally requires that one person be given the responsibility for the job,
and the authority to see that it is done.
2. Varieties.--Already much progress has been made in trials with varieties
from other parts of the world. This program should be continued, with emphasis
on varieties from other warm, lowland tropical areas.
A limited amount of breeding of tomato varieties has been done in Ghana.
This activity should be encouraged as an investment for the future. Emphasis
should be placed on varieties which will set fruit under high temperature condi-
tions and be resistant to the diseases which occur in Ghana.
Up to now, emphasis has been placed on the search for varieties for process-
ing. This should be continued, but also an effort should be made to select var-
ieties for the fresh market. Actually, a great part of the "fresh market" could
be supplied by processing varieties because Ghanaian people cook tomatoes before
they consume them. For cooking purposes, processing varieties with their high
soluble solids and intense color are quite acceptable. At any rate, some emphasis
should be placed on fresh market varieties, because past events indicate that
until the fresh market is satisfied, little fruit is going to be available for
With an active program of variety research, and good cultural practices, it
is possible in the next 10 to 15 years to increase average tomato production in
Ghana to 10 or 12 tons of fruit per acre, with the better farmers producing up to
The matter of a supply of good seed has been discussed previously. It should
be repeated that good seed is a factor of utmost importance. Without good seed,
large increases in production can never be attained.
3. Fertilizer.--More attention should be given to experimental design.
There is a particular need for experiments in which the effects of the individual
fertilizer elements can be determined. The immediate goal of this research is
fertilizer recommendations which will give the greatest production of good quality
fruit with the least cost.
4. Disease and pest control.--Wherever crops are grown on a large scale,
pest and disease problems develop sooner or later, and they change from season to
season. A continuing program of research in identification and control is
necessary if high production is to be maintained.
5. Other cultural practices.--The research program should include
experiments to determine such things as optimum plant spacing and land rotation
systems. While these factors are not as basic as varieties, fertilizer and disease
control, they do play an important role in the attainment and maintenance of high
6. Extension.--The Extension Division of the Ministry of Agriculture has
representatives throughout Ghana. The development of a strong extension service
should be encouraged in every way possible. Extension workers are hindered in
their work at times by lack of transportation, lack of funds, lack of clerical
facilities, and especially by lack of printed information for distribution to
interested people. There is not nearly enough contact between research workers
and extension personnel. Extension workers cannot possibly be effective if they
have difficulty in obtaining information about research results.
It is through the Ministry of Agriculture and its Extension Division that the
Government could most effectively administer a program of incentives to encourage
farmers to increase production. Credit, payable after harvest, for such things as
land preparation, fertilizer, seed, and chemicals for disease and pest control
could help a lot to encourage increases in crop production.
IV. ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIORITIES
A. Location of Production
Much of the tomato crop of Ghana is produced in areas far from the markets
in which the fruit is sold to consumers. In spite of great efforts to acquire a
supply of fruit for the new government canneries (which are standing idle), most
of the crop still is carried long distances by truck and sold in the fresh market,
because there it brings a higher price. It is obvious that the fresh market must
be satisfied before much fruit can be obtained for processing. Furthermore, it is
not wise to continue to emphasize production in northern Ghana to the exclusion of
work on production in the southern part of the country.
There are plenty of soils in the coastal savanna, particularly the eastern
part, in which tomatoes could be grown in sufficient quantity to supply the fresh
market and the processing market as well.
Of course, there are political and social problems to be solved in developing
an agricultural industry in any given area, but where cogent reasons exist for
change, the means to achieve it usually can be found.
B. Fresh Market
A strong effort should be made to supply this market adequately. At present
there is an adequate supply of fruit during part of the wet season, but a shortage
of fruit during the dry season. With existing and proposed irrigation systems in
operation, it should be possible to supply the fresh market during the dry season.
As mentioned previously, it is likely that some varieties suitable for processing
would also be acceptable in the fresh market for use in cooking.
I believe that tomato production for the fresh market should receive the
greatest emphasis in the next few years.
Research already has shown that it is possible to produce tomatoes of a
quality suitable for processing in Ghana. The research program on production of
tomatoes for processing should be continued, with emphasis on production as near
to the canneries as possible. The canneries in southern Ghana offer the best
possibility for economic operation. I do not see how the canneries at Wenchi and
Pwalagu could be made to operate at a profit in the next few years, because costs
are high (power, tinplate, etc.) and there is not an adequate supply of fruit to
operate them. If circumstances dictate that they must be operated, then the
necessary steps should be taken immediately to get them into operation. They
should by all means not be allowed to sit idle. If they are not to be used for
processing, they should be converted to some other use.
It is best to concentrate on rainfed tomato production for the processing
market, because of the lower cost of production. Production should be located in
areas where soil moisture is adequate in the majority of years to raise a crop
The tomato products processed in Ghana do not have good, uniform quality.
Methods developed in other parts of the world for tomato processing should be
applicable to processing in Ghana. With some experimentation, and with sound
administration and management, the canneries should be able to achieve good quality
in their products.
I see no way in which Ghana can develop an export trade in tomato products
in the foreseeable future. It will take years just to supply the fresh market and
the domestic market for processed products. Costs of tomato production are much
higher in Ghana than in the major tomato-producing countries of the world, and
are likely to remain so for a long time to come.
The opinions expressed in this report are my own. My thinking has been
influenced by the many reports I have read, particularly those of J. E. Higgins,
G. Johannessen, J. E. Ross and L. Troescher. I have benefitted from discussions
with Crop Production Officers, U.S.A.I.D. representatives, and personnel of the
Nathan Consortium for Sector Studies, particularly S. N. Edson, Gifford Rogers
and James Ross.
1. CSIR and Ministry of Agriculture. Tomato crop promotion in Ghana. Report of
a meeting. 10 July 1969.
2. Del Monte Corporation, Investment opportunities in the fish and agricultural
canning industries. April, 1968.
3. Higgins, J. E. Technical evaluation of state cannery corporation facilities
in Ghana. Prepared for National Investment Bank and U.S.A.I.D. 1968.
4. INGRA. Project of the tomato tinning factory in Pwalagu, Republic of Ghana,
Economic Survey. Zagreb, Yugoslavia. 1962.
5. INGRA. Project of the tomato and mango canning factory in Wenchi, Economic
6. INGRA. Report on the efforts made towards the organization and improvement of
tomato production in Ghana. Accra. February, 1969.
7. Johannessen, G. A. Part I. A summary of observations and recommendations on
Ghanaian tomato and pineapple production. National Investment Bank. 1968.
8. Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Ghana. Request for assistance from the
Special Fund of the UNDP for a pilot project for the development of
vegetable and fruit production. 1968.
9. National Investment Bank. Preliminary analysis of the agricultural and
economic viability of the state canneries, Ghana. July 1967.
10. National investment Bank. Descriptive summary of available information for
evaluation of the state canneries. November 1967.
11. Owusu, P. M. Agricultural guide for Ghana farmers. Bulletin A-34. 1965.
12. Reusse, E. Ghana's food industries 1968. UNDP (Special Fund). April, 1968.
13. Ross, J. An analysis of government participation in Ghana's agro-industrial
development. Section I. Fruit and vegetable processing. Nathan
Consortium for Sector Studies. 1969 (Draft).
14. Troescher, L. First draft, evaluation report, State Cannery Corporation.
National Investment Bank. 1969.
15. Whitby, P. Foods of Ghana. Food Research Institute Bulletin 1, 1968.
16. White, R. A., Jr. A summary of experiences, observations and trials in
vegetable production throughout Ghana. Food and Agriculture Division,
17. Wills, J. B. (Editor). Agriculture and land use in Ghana. Oxford
University Press, London. 1962.
VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN GHANA
This report presents a summary of problems in the vegetable industry of
Ghana. Emphasis is placed on the so-called "Ghanaian vegetables" onion, okra,
garden egg and pepper (tomato is covered in a separate report) because these are
grown and consumed in the greatest quantity. For the most part, these are not
eaten fresh, but are cooked in soups and stews.
There is a dependable and growing market for other vegetables, which are
consumed primarily by the non-Ghanaian population. These include cabbage, carrot,
lettuce, potato and radish. Some of these are primarily consumed fresh and present
special problems in handling and marketing. A large part of this market is supplied
by imports and it would be most desirable to substitute locally grown products.
Presently some 100,000 acres of vegetables are grown in Ghana. All
indications are that demand for vegetables will increase steadily in the future.
If this demand is to be met, and if Ghana is to become self-sufficient in agricul-
ture, it will be necessary to improve upon present methods of production and market-
ing. This report presents suggestions by which this may be accomplished.
II. GENERAL PROBLEMS AND SUGGESTED ACTION
Lack of water is one of the most important limiting factors to vegetable
production in the savanna areas of Ghana. For various reasons, it is desirable
to produce vegetables during the dry season as well as in the wet season. For dry
season production, irrigation is essential. In planning for irrigation projects,
foremost consideration should be given to locating them in areas close to
population centers, where there is a good market for vegetables.
Rainfall in some parts of Ghana is too high for good production of many
vegetables, because of disease problems. Although intensive farming for certain
special markets can be profitable in such areas, extensive farming is likely to be
In general, little fertilizer is used in vegetable production in Ghana. The
use of fertilizer must be increased if there is to be an increase in vegetable pro-
duction. Probably it will be necessary to provide some sort of government assis-
tance if this is to be accomplished. At the same time, some research should be
done to determine optimum rates of fertilizer application in the different
Some vegetables, such as garden egg and okra, are very well adapted to the
high temperature conditions of a lowland tropical country like Ghana. Others,
such as cabbage and potatoes, are not so well adapted to these conditions, and
may grow well only in certain localities. With these vegetables, there is a good
possibility that research can lead to the selection or development of varieties
which will be well adapted to local conditions.
Some vegetables grow well only where the daylength falls within certain
limits. The onion, for example, is best adapted to the long days of the temperate
zone. Most varieties of onion do not grow well in Ghana. However, a few varieties
will grow and form bulbs here. In selecting vegetable varieties for Ghana,
adaptation to the daylength conditions can be an important consideration.
Probably the most important pest of vegetables is the nematode, particularly
the root-knot nematode. Okra and garden egg are particularly susceptible to
damage. Soil fumigation is the fastest way to eliminate this pest, but is expen-
sive and is not likely to be widely used in Ghana for many years. Rotation of
susceptible crops with non-susceptible crops is the most practical method of nema-
tode control for most farmers under these conditions.
Insects which feed upon leaves and fruits do serious damage to vegetable
crops at times. Very little is done to control these insects. Farmers know little
about the use of pesticides and often could not obtain them readily even if they
were inclined to use them. I believe that a concerted program of education by
agricultural extension workers is necessary to acquaint farmers with the use of
pesticides and the benefits to be gained from their use. Emphasis should be
placed upon safe use of these materials.
Development of most plant diseases is promoted by moist conditions. Damage
from plant disease is most severe in the forest zone of Ghana, and during the rainy
seasons in the rest of the country. Some vegetable crops have relatively little
trouble from disease; others may be damaged severely. Essentially no disease con-
trol measures are applied in vegetable crops in Ghana. Research needs to be done
to identify the diseases present and determine how to control them. There is no
doubt that under conditions of intensive vegetable cultivation, some disease
control will be necessary if high yields are to be obtained.
This is a factor of utmost importance. Much has been done already in Ghana
to select varieties of some vegetable crops which are well adapted to local con-
ditions. More needs to be done, because many of the varieties grown at this time
have defects such as low yield, poor quality or disease susceptibility. Much can
be accomplished just by conducting trials of varieties obtained from other
countries of the world. However, as the vegetable industry develops and production
techniques are defined, it will become desirable to undertake plant breeding, to
obtain varieties best adapted to specific local conditions.
After superior varieties are developed, it is necessary to maintain their
high quality. This can seldom be done just by saving seed from the crop each year,
because the variety becomes mixed with others growing nearby, as a result of cross-
pollination. This generally results in a reduction in quality of the variety.
There is no seed industry at this time in Ghana. Hopefully, with increasing
production and encouragement from the Government, a seed industry can be establish-
ed in the future. Until that time, it is advisable that seeds be purchased from
reputable foreign sources. This will require cooperation of Government officials
too, because there are presently many problems involved in obtaining seeds from
sources outside Ghana.
If a farmer can find no source of good seed, the best thing he can do is to
save seed from the best plants on the farm. If possible, these plants should be
growing in isolation from fields of other varieties.
I. Size of Farms
Most vegetable production comes from small farms, considerably less than one
acre in size. These are cultivated intensively and, in general, no mechanization
is employed. In some areas there are more extensive farms, up to five acres in
size. Except for occasional land preparation by tractor, these are manual
If they are well managed and located near good markets, these small farms
are profitable operations. Undoubtedly they will remain so for a long time to
come. However, if there is to be a significant increase in vegetable production
in the future, an effort must be made to develop larger farms, to utilize the
benefits of mechanization. This is especially true if the crops are to be used for
processing. It is not likely that costs of vegetables grown on small farms under
intensive culture can ever be low enough to make processing profitable.
J. Land Management
Under intensive culture, it is possible to use a piece of land indefinitely
if it is managed well. This requires some form of crop rotation. By rotating
crops which are susceptible to diseases and pests with crops which are not suscep-
tible, it is possible to keep their effects from becoming severe. Nematodes are
an important pest which can be kept under control by crop rotation.
Farmers should be encouraged to utilize the full potentiality of the land by
use of fertilizers and then planting optimum populations of plants. Intercropping
is a useful way to increase land productivity under conditions of intensive culture.
Intercropping does not lend itself well to mechanized agriculture.
Much needs to be done to improve vegetable marketing in Ghana. Produce
frequently must be transported for long distances to market, and there are large
losses from damage and spoilage. Losses continue in the markets because of poor
holding facilities and rough handling.
Farmers should be encouraged to locate production as near to markets as
possible. The Agricultural Extension Division could be very helpful in working
with growers and helping them to organize their vegetable marketing efforts.
Although productivity is relatively low and much improvement is needed in
production and marketing, vegetable farming has been a profitable enterprise in
Ghana for a long time. It will certainly become more important in the future.
Much research work is needed to bring yields up to modern horticultural
standards and to improve crop quality. Not only is it necessary that the research
work be done, but it is necessary that the results of the research be made avail-
able to the farmers. This is the job of the Extension Division, Ministry of
Agriculture. This organization has representatives throughout Ghana, and they
are in a better position than anyone else to know what is happening in agriculture,
and to affect the future of agriculture. They should receive the wholehearted
support of the Ghanaian Government.
III. SPECIFIC VEGETABLE CROPS
The onion originated in the Temperate Zone, and most onion varieties will
not form bulbs satisfactorily in the Tropics. Fortunately, a few onion varieties
have been found which will form bulbs under the short-day conditions in Ghana.
There is considerable production of onions in the eastern coastal savanna and
some areas of the interior savanna. Shallots, which are closely related to the
onion, are grown in the coastal savanna under intensive culture.
Onion yields are very low in Ghana. Research in varietal selection and
breeding is needed, because this is an important crop. With improved varieties
and the use of adequate fertilizer, irrigation and pest control, Ghana could
become self-sufficient in onion production in a few years.
Thrips are the most injurious pest to onions in Ghana. They can be
controlled by application of dieldrin or malathion.
B. Garden egg (Eggplant).
This crop is very well adapted to the climate of Ghana. Many varieties are
grown, but they are not well standardized. Research should be done in varietal
selection, and then a dependable source of seeds should be developed.
If garden egg is grown continuously on the same land, nematodes will build
up damaging populations. Crop rotation is desirable.
This is an important crop in Ghana. Much improvement in yields could be
obtained by the use of fertilizer and by controlling insects which feed on the
leaves of the plants.
This crop is also well adapted to a hot tropical climate. It can be grown
well all over Ghana. Okra is quite susceptible to nematode damage, and should be
grown in rotation with non-susceptible crops.
Much improvement in yield and quality could be made by the development of
dependable sources of seed of superior varieties.
This crop is grown all over Ghana and is used universally as a seasoning.
There are many excellent local selections in Ghana. Significant increases in yield
could be obtained by the use of fertilizer. Water frequently is a limiting factor
to yield in the Savanna regions.
The sweet or bell pepper is a cool weather crop and does not grow very well
in most parts of Ghana. Undoubtedly varieties could be selected which would grow
reasonably well under these conditions, if variety trials were conducted. It is
likely that the demand for sweet peppers will increase in the future.
E. Minor Vegetables
There is a limited but dependable market in the large urban areas of Ghana
for certain vegetables which are consumed primarily by expatriates. It is likely
that consumption of these by Ghanaian people will increase in the future.
Carrots, cucumbers and lettuce of fair to good quality and yield can be
grown, with proper attention to good cultural conditions.
Potatoes can be grown successfully only in the areas of higher elevation,
where cooler temperatures occur.
Cabbage and radishes can be grown, but their performance is not reliable.
If production of these minor vegetable crops is to be increased, much work
in varietal selection and development will have to be done. Emphasis should be
placed on small-scale, intensive culture near urban areas with most of these crops.
Vegetable farming is an important agricultural enterprise in Ghana. In
order to increase the yield and improve the quality of vegetable crops, improve-
ment is needed in varieties, seed supply, fertilizer usage, pest and disease
control, irrigation for dry season production, and marketing of produce.
Emphasis should be placed on the "Ghanaian vegetables" which are consumed
in large quantity, but some research in production of minor crops is worthwhile.
As population increases and, hopefully, the standard of living is raised in
Ghana, there will be an increasing market for vegetables of good quality.
Vegetable farming has a promising future in the economy of this country.
The report on vegetable variety trials by R. A. White, Jr., Horticulture
Advisor, USAID, was particularly helpful to me in the study of vegetable
production in Ghana.
1. Apte, S. S. Using hybrid seed for vegetables. Crops Research Institute,
2. Hughes, R. B., and E. S. Nibo. Demand constraints and plans for increasing
food production. Agricultural Working Paper No. 7, Nathan Consortium.
3. Ministry of Agriculture. Request for assistance from the Special Fund of the
UNDP for a pilot project for the development of vegetable and fruit
4. Mortensen, E., and E. T. Bullard. Handbook of tropical and sub-tropical
horticulture. U.S.A.I.D. 1964.
5. Sekyere, D. A., and S. J. McCorvey. Better vegetables Ghana handbook.
Ghana Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Agriculture and U.S.A.I.D. 1966.
6. Whitby, P. Foods of Ghana. Food Research Institute Bulletin 1. 1968.
7. White, R. A., Jr. A summary of experiences, observations and trials in
vegetable production throughout Ghana. U.S.A.I.D. 1967.
8. Winters, H. F., and G. W. Miskimen. Vegetable gardening in the Caribbean
area. U. S. Department of Agriculture Handbook No. 323. 1967.