Groundnut (Arachis hypogea L.) is an important food source as well as cash crop for the people of Northern Ghana. The crop yield is low partly due to biological constraints which include diseases like leaf spot. A survey was conducted among 200 farmers in four districts of the Northern Region of Ghana, from June to August, 2014 using a structured questionnaire. The objectives of this study were to assess farmers’ knowledge, perception and management of leaf spot disease of groundnut. Differences in farmer responses were evaluated using Chi-square test. A significantly higher (P =0.005) number of farmers (87.5 %) were aware of leaf spot disease of groundnut and could identify symptoms of the disease, but could not differentiate symptoms from herbicide injury. Majority (84.5 %) of the farmers reported the incidence of leaf spot disease on their farms to be 50 % and above. Most farmers (74.5 %) also reported the disease severity to be above 50 %. Male farmers (33.5 %) who used defoliation or brown spots as signs of maturity of the groundnut crop were significantly more (P =0.031) than their female counterparts (26 %). Farmers who used non-chemical methods (62 %) of managing leaf spot disease were significantly (P <0.001) higher than those who used recommended methods including the use of chemicals (38 %). It is important to educate farmers to enhance their capabilities for leaf spot disease management through farmers’ field days. Also, since most of them use traditional methods such as crop rotation, appropriate spacing and mixed cropping as means of controlling the disease, and the use of effective plant extracts as an integrated management strategy would be ideal.
Key words: Leaf spots, knowledge, perception, management, Northern region.
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