pesticides, pest management, agronomic practices
Objective: To characterize the agronomic and phytosanitary aspects of the tomato production units of the Comiteca-Tojolabal Plateau, Chiapas, Mexico.
Design/Methodology/Approach: A random sampling of n=76 tomato fields was performed; agronomic practice surveys were applied to their respective farmers, and the phytosanitary status of each site was evaluated.
Results: Tomatoes are grown in shade houses, in plots that mostly do not exceed 0.5 ha. The most common practices are crop rotation, one tomato cycle per year, incorporation of previous crop residues, and fertilization every 5-8 days. For phytosanitary management, foliar sprays are usually performed every 5-8 days. In order to prevent diseases and pests, 67% of producers pre-treat seedlings and 95% apply bactericides and fungicides to the roots during the first 45 days of the crop. The most important pests and diseases are whitefly, thrips, Bactericera sp., late blight, virosis, and wilt. The percentage of plants that suffer from root and vascular diseases ranges from 0-38%. However, low values were more frequent. The regional severity of wilting is low, since 90% of the plants evaluated did not present symptoms.
Study Limitations/Implications: This is the first work to describe the agronomic and phytosanitary aspects of tomato cultivation in this region. Additional research with this approach is required and this work will be the basis for further studies.
Findings/Conclusions: Most of the tomato farms have less than 0.5 ha and their farmers carry out intensive phytosanitary management with pesticides. In addition to chemical control, the cultural practices used may contribute to a low incidence and severity of soil-borne diseases. The most important crop diseases are late blight and virosis.