Diagnostic clinic

The correct identification of a plant disease is essential for cost effectively control and management strategies. The Crop Protection Division at ARC-VOP provides plant diagnostic support for commercial and small-scale farmers. We regularly test vegetable and ornamental plants for plant pathogens with expertise in viral, fungal and bacterial pathogens.

For more information and/or cost, please contact Dr Rene Sutherland

Diseases of African indigenous vegetables

The current project focuses on the identification of diseases affecting African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) such as cucurbits, cowpea, groundnuts, okra, cleome, Black nightshade, etc. These crops are mostly grown under dry land conditions by smallholder farmers with a few having access to irrigation water. Production is constrained by diseases caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria, which can cause up to 100% loss in production. Currently, very little quantitative information on diseases of specific AIVs is available. Surveillance, detection, and diagnosis of plant diseases are all necessary components of safeguarding crops against pathogens and identifying causal agents. The aim of the study is to increase the productivity and quality of AIVs and other vegetables grown by smallholder farmers, by identifying diseases that threatens production, and implementation of disease detection tools and management practices through training workshops conducted at farm level.

During surveys in the two districts in May/June 2016 and February/March 2017 symptoms on various vegetables such as Cucurbita pepo (known in the areas as Tinwhembe or Thanga), Okra, Cowpea, Muxe (Solanum retroflexum Dunal) and Chinese spinach were observed, photographed and collected for further analysis. Symptomatic plant samples were analysed for bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens at ARC-VOP.

Contact: Mr Kenneth Mabasa


Some examples of the foliar symptoms observed on the African indigenous vegetables.

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