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    Research proposal presentation triggs Research proposal presentation triggs Presentation Transcript

    • RESEARCH PROPOSAL PRESENTATION ON COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF TOMATO PRODUCED IN THE DRY SEASON UNDER WOOD SHAVINGS AND BLACK PLASTIC MULCH A CASE STUDY OF VALLEY VIEW UNIVERSITYTECHIMAN PRESENTED BY MR. BOATENG EMMANUEL
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Africa’s water resources are scattered throughout the continent. While some areas receive more than enough (rainfall), others experience constant drought. Lack of access to water is a larger problem in Africa than anywhere else. Of the 25 nations in the world with the greatest percentage of people lacking access to safe drinking water, 19 are in Africa. Perhaps the greatest cause of Africa’s problem of lack of water is that the continent cannot effectively utilize its resources (www.library.thinkquest.org). Though approximately 4 trillion cubic meters of water is available every year, only about 4% of that is used. The continent and its people lack the technical knowledge and financial resources needed to access their water supplies. (www.library.thinkquest.org)
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION It is therefore necessary to utilize our available water resources effectively. Rain harvesting can be employed as a means of curbing this problem where applicable, especially in the urban areas (as the roofing systems in these areas permit the achievement off this objective). This same water resource can be used to aid agriculture through irrigation (especially during the lean/minor rainfall season) in an attempt to address food security problems in Africa. In the rural and farming communities, with respect to areas with access to streams and rivers, irrigation dams can be constructed to facilitate dry season farming. In Ghana, irrigation farming is a common phenomenon with respect to farms located near rivers and other water bodies. In the later years of the twentieth century, specifically 1975, the Acheampong Military Government begun constructing the Tono irrigation dam in the Upper East region to encourage farmers to produce food and cash crops.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Tomato is an indispensable ingredient in the diets of many around the world with Ghana being a typical example. Its use has resulted in its demand exceeding supply in Ghana (both fresh and processed) with prices rocketing sky high during the lean season and cheap during the major/bumper harvest season. Demand for the crop world wide has a similar trend. The sector in Ghana has however failed to reach its potential. The location of the dam is ideal as it can address the problem of declining yield in tomato production through irrigation farming. Its ecological location also makes it unique for tomato production. The dam is one of the biggest agricultural dams in West Africa. It supplies 2400 hectares of irrigated land for cultivation (www.ghanabizmedia.com). With the advent of the irrigation dam, farming activities was encouraged in the surrounding areas. All year-round farming was practiced as there was water available to facilitate production. One of the major crops produced in the region is tomato. This led to the construction of the Northern Star Tomato factory, formerly known as Pwalugu Tomato factory. Similar processing plants were erected in and around major tomato producing areas (www.ghanabizmedia.com).
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION The GIHOC Tomato Cannery (TOMCAN) is located at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo region, GIHOC Cannery in Nsawam, a town near Accra and Techiman Processing Promotion Centre (TPPC), FAO/Italy/MOFA project-Techiman. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) is widely used as a food source and available yearround in fresh and preserved forms, there is no shortage of uses for this versatile “vegetable” (www.tomatoesareevil.com). Tomato production in Ghana is a very lucrative business despite the many production setbacks. It is a source of employment for farmers and for that matter a source of income that supports their livelihood. Compared to other vegetables used in Ghana, tomato is normally used in large quantities (Ellis et al., 1998). The crop is grown for fresh market and for processing.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION However, in most West African countries, it is produced mainly for domestic consumption (Norman, 1992). The crop thrives well in the savanna and forest savanna transitional zones of Ghana. A major reason why it is predominantly produced in the Upper East region and the Brong Ahafo region (Akomadan). The establishment of the two processing plants in the Brong Ahafo region has greatly increased the regions potential of becoming a major production area in the nation. Tomato production greatly contributes to the economy of the nation. As a food crop, it is an integral part of almost all the local and continental dishes prepared in Ghana. It is a part of the nation’s food basket in the determination of our gross domestic product and inflation rates. It serves as a source of raw material for production firms and a source of foreign exchange for the country. Its cultivation provides employment to farmers who engage in it and a source of income to support their livelihoods (www.ghanabizmedia.com).
    • FIGURE 1.1 TOMATO PRODUCTION TREND IN GHANA FROM 1970-2007 Source: Composite graph using data from FAOSTAT; SRID; MOFA; Asuming-Brempong and Asuming Boakye 2008.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION The tomato sector in Ghana (according to the graph above) has failed to reach its potential in terms of attaining yields comparable to other countries. The inability to sustain processing plants, improving the livelihoods of farmers involved in tomato production and the tomato commodity chain are all reasons why the sector has failed to reach its potential (www.ifpri.org/.../gsspwp19.pdf). Production of the crop has not been encouraging over the years. The present total land area under cultivation is unknown, but about 16,000 ha of Ghana's arable land was under tomato cultivation in 1995 (PPMED, 1996). The current production level is inadequate for the nation. Production is confined to only a few months of the year (mainly done under rain-fed conditions), resulting in a glut and low producer prices (www.ifpri.org).
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION This is followed by shortage and rise in price of the fresh produce, especially during the dry/minor season. Scarcity and high cost of fresh tomatoes were major constraints, accounting among other things, for the unprofitable running of the factories (Apte et aI., 1969). Despite government interventions that include the establishment of a number of tomato processing factories, tomatoes of the right quality and quantity for commercial agroprocessing are not being grown. Many farmers still prefer to plant local varieties with a high water content, many seeds, poor color and low brix (sugar content). Average yields remain low, typically under ten (10 tons) tons per hectare. Because of seasonal production, high perishability, poor market access, transportation and competition from imports, some farmers are unable to sell their produce and are left to rot in their fields. In spite of these challenges, other farmers in Ghana have achieved higher yields, profitable production and choose to grow tomatoes over other crops. (www.ifpri.org/.../gsspwp19.pdf)
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Data for the tomato sector have not been collected consistently at a national level since the 1980’s and so it’s not possible to make strong statements concerning trends over area farmed to tomato, yields or productivity (www.ifpri.org/.../gsspwp19.pdf). As a consequence, processed tomato products continue to be imported into the country annually. For instance, in 1994, 1995 and 1996, Ghana imported 2,873.4, 3,283.2 and 6,177.8 metric tons respectively of tomato paste (Ministry of Trade, 1996). Data from the Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PPMED 1997) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) indicate that the highest ever annual production was recorded in 1995 (213,000 mt), and the lowest was recorded in 1997 (35,800 mt). The overall annual production seldom reaches 90,000 mt.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Despite the stated setbacks, Ghana still has the potential to boost its tomato production like neighboring African countries. This can be effectively achieved by employing the right planting materials, production procedures, use of farm machinery and practicing all year round production (irrigation farming during the dry/lean season). In an attempt to address the increasing demand for tomato (fresh and processed), a large number of experiments (research) have been conducted to study the response of drip irrigation and plastic mulch on yield improvement of tomato and other crops in different agro-climatic region and soil condition across the globe. About 20 - 60% higher yields were obtained with drip irrigation in some studies (Sivanappan et al., 1974), while in other studies yield was reported to be slightly lower or equal to that of conventional irrigation (Doss et al., 1980) along with reduction in irrigation requirement of 30 - 60%.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Tomato is also suited to drip irrigation in combination with plastic mulch, but little work has been done to study the effects of drip irrigation and plastic mulch on crop yield and yield component of tomato in the dry season in Ghana. The present investigation is planned to determine the “COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF TOMATO PRODUCED IN THE DRY SEASON UNDER SAW DUST AND PLASTIC MULCHES”. Research on plastic and organic (straw/grass and manure) mulches and their effect on tomato cultivation have been carried out across the globe. Results from these researches have proven that generally, mulches help improve the yield and growth index of tomato as compared to the traditional methods used in cultivation. This is achieved as a result of the mulch reducing surface evaporation, leaching, controlling weeds and thereby controlling competition for soil nutrients, water, air and sunlight. The adoption of this method coupled with irrigation (drip) has the propensity to curb the declining production trend of tomato in the nation, especially if widely carried out in the lean season.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION Below are a few of such universities that carried out such research: University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, researched into the “Effects of Three Mulch Types on the Growth and Yield of Tomato (Lycopersicon Esculentum Mill.) And Weed Suppression in Ibadan, Rainforest-Savanna Transition Zone of Nigeria”. The Department of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson (U.S.A.), Coastal Plains Soil and Water Conservation Research Center, Florence, SC (U.S.A.) also researched into the “Plastic Mulch Color Effects on Reflected Light and Tomato Plant Growth”. The Department of Horticulture, Ames Western Research Farm, Castana, also researched on the “Effect of Red Plastic Mulch on Early Tomato Production”.
    • BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION The Department of Agricultural Machinery, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University, Takestan Branch, Iran also researched on the “EFFECT OF PLASTIC MULCH AND TILLAGE METHOD ON YIELD AND YIELD COMPONENTS OF TOMATO (Lycopersicon esculentum)”. The Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India researched on the “Effect of black plastic mulch on soil temperature and tomato yield in mid hills of Garhwal Himalayas”. Almost all of these researches were carried out during the major growing season of tomato the more reason why this research is relevant.
    • PROBLEM STATEMENT Despite the increasing demand in both local and worldwide markets for the fresh and processed tomato, its supply is on the decline and has resulted in a number of processing factories in the nation’s closure as tomato serves as a raw material for their production. Importation of the processed product is rather on the increase as it is indispensable in the diets of many Ghanaians(PPMED 1997, MOFA). This problem can be attributed to the following factors: lack of irrigation facilities for dry season tomato cultivation, Farm finance, Seeds for planting, Land tenure or land acquisition problems, Marketing of produce, Land preparation, Diseases, pests and problems with weed control. Most of the problems are associated with the production procedure of the crop. The research is therefore directed towards addressing this central question: what production procedure is most effective for dry season cultivation in Ghana? The following specific questions are expected to be addressed: To what extent can the procedure improve the yield index of tomato production in Ghana? Can the procedure be practiced in all production areas in Ghana? How available are the materials for carrying out the procedure?
    • RESEARCH OBJECTIVES GENERAL OBJECTIVE The general objective of the study is to determine the cost effectiveness of producing tomato with saw dust and black plastic mulch in the dry season as compared to the traditional method of production. Specifically, the study will address the following objectives: To determine the soil moisture regulation capabilities of the plastic and organic mulches. To determine the temperature changes in soils as a result of the mulches and their effect on growth index of the tomato. To estimate the cost of inputs of production in comparison to output (cost benefit analysis). To determine the most appropriate mulch for dry season tomato production in techiman.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION Originally cultivated by the famously blood thirsty Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 A.D., tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is native to the Americas (www.tomatoesareevil.com). A French botanist Tournefort provided the Latin botanical name, Lycopersicon esculentum, to the tomato. The English word tomato comes from the Spanish word, tomate, derived from a Nahuati (Aztec language) word, tomatl (www.tomatoesareevil.com). It first appeared in prints in 1595. As a member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously taught to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of the bright shiny fruit. Native versions were small and most likely yellow rather than red. Italy was the first to embrace and cultivate tomato outside America (www.tomatoesareevil.com).
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION Tomatoes are a member of the botanical family Solanaceae, which contains many potentially poison-ous plants (nightshade, nicotianas [includes tobacco and petunias], Jimson weed [belladonna], and mandrake), as well as edible plants (potatoes, capsicums, and eggplants). All members of this family have toxic alkaloids present in either their leaves or their fruits (www.tomatoesareevil.com). There are two types of tomato plant growth habits: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants will grow to a genetically specified height and produce all of their fruiting flowers at one time. Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow and produce fruiting flowers throughout the entire season.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWORIGIN AND DESCRIPTION The crop was introduced into Africa by conquering European nations that established colonies and protectorates throughout the continent. Nowadays, tomatoes are used in almost all African cuisines, especially in East Africa and the Congo (www.infobarrel.com).
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Tomatoes grow best on well-drained soils that have good air and water infiltration rates. Lime should be applied to achieve a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 according to soil test recommen-dations. Tomatoes require a constant supply of moisture during the growing season. This raises concerns on the irrigation method to be used with plastic mulching. Irrigation is an important determinant of crop yield, because it is associated with many factors of plant environment, which influence growth and development (www.garden.org). Availability of adequate amount of moisture at critical stages of plant growth not only optimizes the metabolic process in plant cells but also increases the effectiveness of the mineral nutrients applied to the crop. Consequently any degree of water stress may produce deleterious effects on growth and yield of the crop (Saif et al., 2003).
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Surface irrigation method is most widely used all over the world (Mustafa et al., 2003). In this method, the major proportion of irrigation water is lost by surface evaporation, deep percolation and other loses, resulting in lower irrigation efficiencies. Moreover, there is a tendency of farmer’s to apply excess water when it is available (Jain et al., 2000). Under limited water supply conditions farmers tend to increase irrigation interval, which creates water stress resulting in low yields and poor quality. Drip irrigation, with its ability to provide small and frequent water applications directly in the vicinity of the plant root zone has created interest, because of decreased water requirement and possible increase in production (Jain et al., 2000). The more reason why it suits this research as the research is to be conducted in the dry season. As the world become increasingly dependent on the production of irrigated lands, irrigated agriculture faces serious challenges that threatens its suitability.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production It is prudent to make efficient use of water and bring more area under irrigation through available water resources. This can be achieved by introducing advanced methods of irrigation and improved water management practice (Zaman et al., 2001). Among the water management practices for increasing water use efficiency (WUE) one of them is mulching. Any material spread on the surface of soil to protect it from solar radiation or evaporation is called mulch. Different types of materials like wheat straw, rice straw, plastic film, grass, wood, sand etc. are used as mulches. They moderate soil temperature and increase water infiltration during intensive rain (Gajri et al., 1994; Khurshid et al., 2006).This is basically due to the nature of the mulch. However, excess water at any time during growth, especially after fruit set, may increase the fruit’s susceptibility to cracking (both radial and concentric) and fungal diseases, which can reduce fruit quality and yield.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production The best temperature range for the growing season is between 70 F/21oC and 90 F/32oC; temperatures above 90 F or below 55 F will slow the growth, pollination, and maturation of the crop. With adequate soil moisture, tomato plants can tolerate temperatures in excess of 100oF/38oC, although fruit set is adversely affected. Commercial tomato production did not begin until after 1860 when tomatoes were finally accepted by consumers. Since 1890, tomato breeding has developed varieties adopted for use around the world. Tomatoes come in many different types of fruit, fresh or beefsteak types, grape, saladette, cherry, plum or paste, and others. Producing a mixture of these types may expand your marketing capabilities and prospects.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Two management practices which greatly influence tomato fruit yield are spacing and fertilizer application as reported by Abdel-Mawgoud et al.. Most of African soils show nutrient deficient problems after only a short period of cultivation because of their nature as well as prevailing environmental conditions. The knowledge of crop response to population density provides the basis for accessing the effects of intraspecific competition. This was in response to Bodunde et al. who reported that increasing economic yield of most crops is through cropping at high planting density. It is a well known fact that adequate fertilizer is required by tomato for growth and high yield. The fertilizer does this through its ability to replenish the soil with nutrients that are lacking in the soil.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Plant height at maturity decreases with higher planting density but increases with increasing fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) application rate up to 400 kg/ha. Plants height at maturity increases as both the planting density and fertilizer application increases. Number of flower per plant and fruit number per plant is significantly influenced by the planting density and quantity of fertilizer applied.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production The tomato-growing locations in Ghana include the northern part of the Offinso District in the Ashanti Region, and the Techiman, Nkoranza, and Wenchi Districts in the Brong Ahafo Region. The specific locations within these districts are Akumadan and Afrancho in the Offinso District; Tanoso and Tuobodom in the Techiman District; Kranka, Fiema, Senya, Asempaneye, Akumsa Dumase, and Nkoranza in the Nkoranza District; and Subingya Awisa, Ofuman, Nwoase, Ayeasu, and Atrensu in the Wenchi Distric.t. Of these locations, Akumadan, Tanoso and Subingya have irrigation facilities installed by the Irrigation Development Authority of the Government of Ghana. Varieties grown in Ghana include Laurano "70“, Racci, Zaussi, Power reno, Power rasta and Mixture of varieties as well as Variety grown unknown.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production The problem of insufficient extension officers with the few disseminating outdated information also has a great tow on the nation’s production capacity. Other constraints are highlighted as follows: lack of irrigation facilities for dry season tomato cultivation, Farm finance, Seeds for planting, Land tenure or land acquisition problems, Marketing of produce, Land preparation, Diseases, pests and problems with weed control. Recent findings concerning the use of mulches in tomato production has proven to be very effective, efficient and promising as yields are improved upon comparison to the traditional method of production. Utilization of plastics in agriculture started in the developed countries and is now spreading to the developing countries. Protected cultivation in the broad sense, including mulching, has been widely spread by the innovation of plastic films. Paper, straw, and glass were the main materials used before the era of plastics.
    • COUNTRIES 1991 AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST 1999 80,000 Israel 7,000 30,000 Egypt 4,000 26,000 AMERICA USA 200,000 20,000 ASIA 75,000 9,760,000 China 1,400,000 9,600,000 Japan 150,000 160,000 EUROPE 450,000 Spain 100,000 150,000 France 100,000 100,000 Italy 50,000 75,000 WORLD TABLE 1.1 THE USE OF PLASTIC MULCH (HA) IN THE WORLD (AFTER JOUËT, 2001) 12,130,000 The use of plastic mulches for crop production is emphasized in the table above:
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Wide use in Asia especially drastic increase in China in the last ten years is apparent. China had the largest area of plastic mulch in the world followed by Japan, Spain, and France in 1999. The European region was second next to Asia, and Spain, France and Italy were the top three countries in Europe. In recent times, the use of plastic mulches has been adopted in some African countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. Different types of mulches (organic and inorganic) have been used with each having varying results. Organic mulches used are comprised of straw, hay, peanut hulls, leaf mold and compost; wood products such as sawdust, wood chips and shavings, and animal manures. However, natural mulch materials are often not available in adequate quantities for commercial operations or must be hauled to the place of use.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWTomato Production Natural materials are not easily spread on growing crops and require considerable hand labor. Expense and logistical problems have generally restricted use of organic mulch to home gardeners and small market gardens with only limited use on a large commercial scale. Inorganic mulches used include transparent, black, white, yellow, orange, grey, blue, red and aluminum or silver reflective plastics (http://osufacts.okstate.edu). Below is a general summary of the results/benefits of using plastic mulches: EARLINESS Plastic mulch can be used effectively to modify soil temperature. Black or clear mulch intercept sunlight which warms the soil.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION EARLINESS White or aluminum mulch reflects the sun’s heat and keeps the soil cooler. Black mulch applied to the planting bed prior to planting will warm the soil and promote faster growth in early season, which generally leads to earlier harvest. First harvest acceleration of 7 to 14 days is not uncommon, depending on weather conditions. Clear mulch warms the soil more than black and usually provides even earlier harvest. Clear mulch, however, does not block light, which means weed control beneath the mulch is needed. SOIL MOISTURE REGULATION Plastic mulch helps prevent soil water loss during dry years and sheds excessive water away from the crop root zone during periods of excessive rain fall. This can reduce irrigation frequency and amount, and may help reduce the incidence of moisture related physiological disorders such as blossom end rot on tomato.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION WEED CONTROL The type of mulch selected can exert a distinct effect on weed control. Black plastic mulch prevents light from reaching the soil surface, which in turn prevents most weeds from growing. Intact plastic controls essentially all annual weeds and some perennial weeds such as John-son grass. Nuts edge is not effectively controlled by plastic mulch. Clear mulch does not prevent weeds from growing and, in fact, may make their growth more vigorous due to the growing environment beneath the plastic. REDUCED FERTILIZER LEACHING As excessive rainfall is shed from the root zone, fertilizer loss due to leaching is reduced. This is particularly true in sandy soils. This allows the grower to place more pre-plant fertilizer in the row prior to planting the crop.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION IMPROVED QUALITY Plastic mulch helps keep fruits such as tomato from contacting the ground. This reduces soil rot and helps keep the product clean. Fruit cracking and blos-som end rot are reduced in many cases. Fruits tend to be smoother with fewer scars. Properly installed plastic helps keep soil from splashing onto the plants during rainfall, which can reduce grading time. REDUCED SOIL COMPACTION Soil under the mulch re-mains loose and friable. Aeration and soil microbial activity are enhanced.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION REDUCED ROOT PRUNING The mulch strip effectively prevents cultivation equipment from injuring crop roots. Cul-tivation and/or chemical weed control can still be used in the row middles. IMPROVED PLANT GROWTH A combination of the above, and perhaps other factors, results in more vigorous, healthier plants which may be more resistant to pest injury.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEW- DISADVANTAGES OF USING PLASTIC MULCHES COST Plastic mulch costs, installation and removal are quiet expensive. Most of this is an upfront cost which must be borne for the duration of the crop. Some additional equipment is also required. As a minimum, a mulch laying machine must be purchased or constructed in the farm shop. Equipment (bedder) must also be available to prepare and shape the planting bed for mulch application. Also, de-pending on the extent of the operation, transplanting/seeding equipment must be purchased. REMOVAL AND DISPOSAL Non-degradable plastic mulch must be removed from the field. First time users often find this a frustrating experience until individual techniques are developed. Machines are available to lift the plastic but the bulk is done with hand labor. Approximately eight hours of labor are required to remove plastic from one acre.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEW- DISADVANTAGES OF USING PLASTIC MULCHES MANAGEMENT With drip irrigation, managing plastic mulch is more intense. Wilting plants could mean a plugged drip line, while overly wet areas could mean rodent damage to the lines. Drip line problems are hard to evaluate when covered with mulch.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION RESULTS OBTAINED: Results obtained for the plastic mulches are summarized as follows: BLACK Black plastic mulch is the most popular color used in commercial vegetable production. It is especially good for weed control. As a blackbody absorber, this plastic absorbs most incident solar radiation, including visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. Much of the thermal energy, however, is lost to the atmosphere through convection and re-radiation. CLEAR Clear plastic absorbs very little solar radiation. Water droplets that condense on the underside of clear plastic allow solar light (short-wave radiation) in, but block outgoing, long-wave infrared radiation (heat). Incoming solar radiation, however, makes weeds a major problem under clear plastic unless controlled with herbicide or fumigant (Lamont, 1999).
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION WHITE Light is reflected back into the atmosphere or the plant canopy from a white plastic mulch, resulting in slightly cooler (-2ºF at 1-inch depth) soil temperatures. White plastic mulches can be used to establish crops in the summer, when a reduced soil temperature might be beneficial. SILVER/ALUMINUM Reflective silver or aluminum mulches also give cooler soil temperatures. They tend to repel aphids, which can serve as vectors for various viral diseases (Lamont, Sorensen and Averre, 1990) RED Red plastic mulch has been shown to increase tomato yields and quality in some trials and reduce the severity of early blight in others. It has also been shown to increase yields of honeydews, muskmelons and zucchini. In addition, it has been shown to significantly increase soil temperatures (Lamont, 1999). Not all red colors are the same, however, and results have not been consistent.
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION Other colors. Yellow, orange, blue and gray plastic mulches also have been evaluated. The different radiation patterns that are reflected back into the canopies of various crops from these mulches affect plant growth and development in different ways. Some colors like yellow attract certain insects like green pea aphids and cucumber beetles (Lamont, 1999). Such mulches might be used in a field to grow “catch crops” to pull insects away from other crops. Blue-colored mulches have been shown to increase zucchini and honeydew yields. More research needs to be conducted to determine the effects of these colors on plant growth, yields, earliness and pest resistance. Wavelength-selective mulches. These mulches selectively absorb photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), while transmitting solar infrared radiation. Also called infrared-transmitting (IRT) mulches, they help control weeds and exhibit improved soil-warming characteristics, although generally not as well as clear plastic. Colors range from blue-green to brown (Lamont, 1999).
    • -LITERATURE REVIEWGENERAL RESULT DISCUSSION Wavelength-selective mulches. Woven, black polypropylene mulch has been used experimentally by New Mexico State University’s (NMSU’s) Cooperative Extension Service specialists to harvest rainfall to produce crops like tomatoes, chili, cantaloupes, pumpkins and squash, and to reduce the need for supplemental irrigation (Dickerson, 2000). The plastic helps reduce water evaporation from the soil and helps harvest rainfall, which seeps through the plastic preventing it from accumulating around fruit. An ultraviolet light inhibitor incorporated into the plastic makes it reusable, eliminating disposal problems associated with traditional plastic. Its higher cost can be depreciated over its longer life span. Despite the overwhelming discovery concerning the use of plastic mulch, traditional plastics pose an environmental problem of soil or land pollution. They become brittle after a production season which usually makes their removal tedious. Very few types of the plastic mulches are biodegradable. It has also been found that most of them are not recyclable.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS Abandoning the traditional planting methods to embrace this new technique comes with a change in the cost of production. This change is coupled with availability of raw materials (plastic mulch) which can be very expensive especially in areas where they are scarce. This also requires special or improvised farm equipment’s to carry out some farm operations. The method to be used in carrying out the project is outlined as follows: EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN DATA COLLECTION DATA ANALYSIS EXPECTED RESULTS RESEARCH SCHEDULE RESEARCH BUDGET
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN TREATMENT Two (2) selected varieties of tomato: Petomech and Bonaza, will be used in the project. These varieties will be planted at a spacing of 30 cm x 60 cm on a plot size of 40 ft² (8ft*5ft), (0.00091827 acres) under the following treatments: TREATMENTS (MULCH) VARIETIES  CONTROL (NO MULCH) – T1 PETOMECH – V1  SAW DUST (ORGANIC) – T2 BONAZA – V2  BLACK PLASTIC MULCH – T3 The technique to be used in assigning treatments to a plot is the Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD). Each plot will have a planting density of 20 plants.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN TREATMENT There will be six (6) treatments (three per variety) and six (6) replications (three per variety). The field will be divided into six (6) blocks with each block representing a replicate. Each block will also be divided into six (6) plots with each treatment occupying a plot. ANOVA TABLE SOURCE DEGREE OF FREEDOM (DF) TOTAL 35 REPLICATES 5 TREATMENTS 5 ERROR 25 The tomato plants will be nursed at the school nursery and transplanted when two weeks old. The field will be ploughed and harrowed. All fertilizers will be applied to the field before the mulch is installed on the field.
    • FIELD BLOCK DESIGN The abbreviation represent the following: V¹T¹ - Petomech with control (no mulch) treatment V¹T² - Petomech with saw dust (organic) treatment V¹T³ - Petomech with black plastic mulch treatment V²T¹ - Bonaza with control (no mulch) treatment V²T² - Bonaza with saw dust (organic) treatment V²T³ - Bonaza with black plastic mulch treatment below is a summary of how the field will be demarcated: Block 1 (R 1) Block 2 (R 2) Block 3 (R 3) Block 4 (R 4) Block 5 (R 5) Block 6 (R 6) V¹T³ V²T² V²T² V¹T² V²T³ V¹T¹ V²T³ V¹T¹ V²T³ V²T² V¹T² V²T² V¹T² V¹T³ V¹T² V²T³ V²T¹ V²T³ V²T² V²T³ V²T¹ V¹T¹ V¹T¹ V²T¹ V¹T¹ V¹T² V¹T³ V¹T³ V¹T³ V¹T³ V²T¹ V²T¹ V¹T¹ V²T¹ V²T² V¹T²
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN SOIL PREPARATION AND FERTILIZATION The field will be plowed and harrowed to ensure that all soil clods are broken and all debris removed. The removal of the debris will ensure that the plastic mulch is not punctured during installation. Space between the soil and the mulch should be checked as it interferes with heat transfer and prevents the soil from warming as quickly and thoroughly. Some plants may be lost as a result. The mulch should never be applied to excessively dry or wet soil. Dry soil settles and allows mulch to loosen after wetting while wet soil does not seal the mulch well, making it subject to blowing off the bed. It also allows the plastic to “whip” in the wind which can start tares. Spaces also allow movement of the mulch against the stems of transplants which can cause abrasion of stems and death of the plant. The edges of the mulch should be secured with a gener-ous amount of soil. However, do not apply more soil than is needed, as this makes the mulch more difficult to remove. Mulch ap-plied properly will not blow off the row and requires minimum effort to remove. Compost fertilizers (poultry manure) will be applied during field preparation and allowed to decompose over the nursing period.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN PLANTING Transplant crops will be planted through holes punctured through the plastic with a round iron rod. Fabric pins will be placed through the plastic near the holes keep the plastic in place and prevent plant abrasions. Planting space will be 30 cm by 60 cm in row. CULTURAL PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT Plastic mulch does not eliminate the need for good cul-tural practices. On the contrary, more intensive management is needed to insure utilization of the mulch to its greatest advantage. Crops will be observed regularly for insect build up under the plastic around plant openings. If the mulch loosens after installation and flaps in the wind, a shovel of soil will be applied in the middle of the plastic at regular intervals down the row to stabilize the mulch. This can prevent the mulch from blowing off the row or damaging transplants
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN CULTURAL PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT A watering can will be used to irrigate the crops. Good irrigation practices will be followed. Weed control will be carried out manually using a cutlass. Removal After the plastic has served its purpose, it will be removed from the field. The plastic will be removed as soon as possible after use ceases. The plastic should not be plowed into the soil as it takes a very long time to decompose.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS DATA COLLECTION Data collection will commence once the tomato seedlings are transplanted. It will be carried out on a daily basis. These data will be utilized for analysis. The data to be collected include: Soil temperature for the various plots (treatments) Soil moisture content for the various plots (treatments) Growth rate for the various fields Yield per plant per field which will be used to determine the average and total yields per plot.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS DATA ANALYSIS The data collected from the various plots will be subjected to the following data analysis techniques: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) Test of relevance
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPECTED OUTCOME SOIL MOISTURE REGULATION Soil moisture in all three plots are expected to be lost via transpiration except on plots with control treatment. Moisture in these areas will also be lost via surface evaporation as the entire surface areas are exposed to solar radiation. Crops in these areas will also compete with weeds for available soil moisture. Fields mulched with black plastic are expected to control evaporation of soil moisture better than fields mulched with saw dust as moisture control in these areas will depend on depth (thickness) of saw dust.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPECTED OUTCOME TEMPERATURE CHANGES AND ITS EFFECT ON GROWTH Soil temperatures in the saw dust fields are expected to be coolest as solar radiation hitting the mulched surface will heat only the top layers of the mulch. Heating will not penetrate through the mulch because wood is a bad conductor of heat. Temperatures in the control fields will be average upon comparing all three control fields. Soil warming is expected to be highest in soil mulched with black plastic as black is a heat absorber. Research indicates that soil warming enhances growth and as a result, early maturity in tomato production.
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPECTED OUTCOME WEED GROWTH Weed growth in the control plots is expected to be of highest rate as these plots are not covered or mulched. Plots mulched with saw dust are expected to have suppressed weed growth but not as controlled as plots mulched with black plastic. Weed growth from plots mulched with saw dust is expected to commence after several days of watering and soil warming caused by solar radiation. Weed growth on plots with black plastic mulch is also expected to occur at the base of the tomato plants as these areas are the only places exposed (not covered by any mulch).
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPECTED OUTCOME YIELD AND GROWTH With a combination of the following factors:  Weed suppression  Soil water retention  Reduced fertilizer leaching  Reduced soil compaction  Reduced root injury the growth rate together with total yield of the crops in the fields mulched with black plastic and saw dust is expected to increase in comparison with crops in the control plots. However, yield increment is expected to be higher from crops in fields mulched with black plastic than crops in fields mulched with saw dust. This is basically due to the fact that water retention and weed suppression coupled with other factors in the former fields (black plastic) is more effective and efficient than the former fields (saw dust).
    • MATERIALS AND METHODS EXPECTED RESULTS The results will be used to generate a report on the growth and yield of tomato produced in the dry season under saw dust and plastic mulch. The report will furnish readers with the outcomes of the research providing reason to substantiate the possible outcomes. Recommendations will also be made to encourage further research into problems that the research could not address.
    • ACTIVITIES TIME REQUIRED (MONTHS) MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY LITERATURE REVIEW NURSING LAND PREPARATION TRANSPLANTING DATA COLLECTION CULTURAL PRACTICES HARVESTING DATA SCREENING DATA ANALYSIS REPORT WRITING REPORT EDITING AND SUBMISSION RESEARCH SCHEDULE AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER
    • ITEM QUANTITY UNIT PRICE (GH¢) COST(GH¢) 1. SEEDS Petomech Bonaza 1 1 24 23 24 23 2. WEEDICIDES Pre-emergence 2 16 32 3. PESTICIDES 4 14 56 4. FERTILIZERS: Organic: Inorganic: (NPK 15:15:15) 2 47 94 6. PLASTIC MULCHES 12 8 96 7. SPRAYING MACHINE 1 25 25 1 (71 MAN DAYS) 7 497 1 acre 1 acre 45 45 45 45 1.2 3.6 5. SAW DUST 8. LABOR 9. LAND PREPARATION Plowing harrowing 10. POLY BAGS (SIZE) 6*4 RESEARCH 3BUDGET 11. TOTAL 940.6
    • CONCLUSION CONCLUSION The expected results from the project is foreseen to help improve the production trend of tomato in Ghana.
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    • REFERENCES Apte, S. S., Dirks, R. E., Eyeson, K. K., Ghansah, A. K. & Sundararajan, A. R. (1969) Suitable tomato varieties for the canneries in Ghana Ghana Jnl agric. Sci. 2, 73-80. Bodunde, J.G., I.D. Erinle and P.G. Eruotor, 1996. Selecting tomato genotypes for heat tolerance using Fasoulas’ line method. Proceeding of 14th HORTON conference, Ago-Iwoye, 1-4 April, 1996, pp: 24-34. Dickerson, G.W. 2000. Evaluation of an integrated limited irrigation water catchnet system for vegetable production. Cooperative Extension Service, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M. Circular 568. Direct-seeded or transplant crops are planted through holes burned through the middle of the plastic with a propane torch or round branding iron. Fabric pins placed through the plastic near the holes keep the plastic in place and prevent plant abrasions. Ellis, W.O., Agbematle, R., Oldham, J. H. & Nsiah, K. (1998) Tomato paste production at the rural smallscale level. In Proceedings of a Workshop to Evaluate Outputs and Identify Further Vegetable Research Priorities in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. 10-11 September. 1998. Sunyani. pp. 56-71
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