Hot pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is a national spice and vegetable of Ethiopia, produced as a cash crop. Biotic and abiotic stresses are very common throughout the pepper producing area of the country. Diseases are the major constraint to hot pepper production. An experimental trial was conducted at Harato Research site, Wollega University, Ethiopia to evaluate the reaction of five hot pepper varieties (Mareko Fana, Bako Local, Melka Shote, Melka Awaze and Oda Haro) and one local variety has control against the major fungal diseases. In vitro and in vivo, test was conducted during 2018/2019 main growing season. The result showed that Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora capsici) followed by, Frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora capsici) and Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) were the most predominant and severe fungal pathogens for hot pepper at the specified growing area. There was high significant (P<0.001) difference between varieties for all diseases scored, yield and yield components. Even though, the degree of infection varied between the varieties, the local checks were highly attacked by Phytophthora blight and Fusarium wilt whereas, Melka Shote and Melka Awaze varieties were devastated by Frogeye leaf spot in both fields and greenhouse conditions. The tested varieties including traditional and improved varieties were affected by fungal pathogens and it is recommended to intensify research programs aimed at disease resistance and genetic improvement of cultivated hot pepper varieties through breeding procedures towards the interest of resource poor farmers.
Key words: Hot pepper varieties, fungal pathogens, response, yield and yield components.
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