African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6842

Full Length Research Paper

Ethnobotany and perceptions on the value of taro (Colocasia esculenta) among farmers in Benin Republic

Z. Natacha Julienne Quenum
  • Z. Natacha Julienne Quenum
  • Department of Plant Breeding, Pan African University, Life and Earth Sciences Institute (Including Health and Agriculture), Ibadan 200284, Nigeria.
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P. Lava Kumar
  • P. Lava Kumar
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan PMB 5320, Nigeria.
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Malachy O. Akoroda
  • Malachy O. Akoroda
  • Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan, Appleton Road, Ibadan 200132, Nigeria.
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Alexandre Dansi
  • Alexandre Dansi
  • Genetic Resources Unit, Laboratory of Genetic and Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Abomey-Calavi, BP 526, Cotonou, Benin.
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Ramesh Raju Vetukuri
  • Ramesh Raju Vetukuri
  • Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, SE-234 22 Lomma, Sweden.
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Ranjana Bhattacharjee
  • Ranjana Bhattacharjee
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan PMB 5320, Nigeria.
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  •  Received: 06 October 2022
  •  Accepted: 22 November 2022
  •  Published: 31 May 2023

Abstract

Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is a widely grown vegetatively propagated food crop in the Benin Republic. The taro leaf blight (TLB) epidemic in 2009, caused by Phytophthora colocasiae, has destroyed taro production and wiped out many taro landraces in West Africa. A survey was conducted in the southern region of Benin to assess the status of taro and TLB, ethnobotany, farmers' perceptions of taro, and identify production constraints. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information from 24 farmers in 17 villages across six departments, and the TLB incidence was assessed in the same fields. The results revealed the prevalence of TLB across all the villages and a sharp reduction in production since the TLB epidemic. The TLB incidence ranged from 25 to 100%, however, the mean symptom severity score per field assessed on a 1 to 5 rating scale varied between 0.25 and 2.8. Awareness about the TLB or good crop management practices was low. Integrated methods for TLB control and improved agronomic management are crucial to enhance taro yields. In the long term, introducing resistant varieties is critical for the sustainable management of TLB and taro production in Benin. 

Key words: Taro, taro leaf blight, Phytophthora colocasiae, ethnobotany, Benin, Africa.