Sweet Potato Virus Disease and Its Associated Vectors: Farmers’ Knowledge and Management Practices in Uganda

  •  Joanne Adero    
  •  G. O. Akongo    
  •  B. Yada    
  •  D. K. Byarugaba    
  •  Mercy Kitavi    
  •  B. Bua    
  •  G. C. Yencho    
  •  M. A. Otema    


Effective management of sweet potato diseases such as sweet potato virus disease (SPVD) depends to a large extent on farmers’ knowledge of the disease as well as on the integration of recommended management methods in their farming practices. SPVD has continued to be the most important disease constraining sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Inadequate information about farmers’ perception, knowledge and practices are the major impediments in developing countries and has hindered development of effective management of SPVD. This paper addresses the gap by (i) Understanding the socioeconomic characteristics of sweet potato farmers. (ii) Assessing knowledge level of the farmers about SPVD, SPVD vectors and management methods. (iii) Examining the relationship between farmers’ coping strategies to control SPVD and knowledge. To achieve the study objectives, a cross sectional survey was carried out among 95 sweet potato growing households in central, eastern and western regions of Uganda during 2017. Results showed that sweet potato is valued as the second most important subsistence crop among smallholder farmers. The female farmers (54.7%) were more involved in production than their male counterpart. SPVD was perceived by the majority of farmers (63.6%) as the most important disease and a total of 70.5% of these farmers had experienced the disease in their fields. Despite of SPVD prevalence as perceived by the farmers, close to half (48.4%) of these farmers did not have good knowledge of the SPVD, 67.4% were ignorant about SPVD vectors, 85.8% did not know management methods and hence 68.4% did not use any management method. These knowledge gaps down play stability of the farmers to effectively manage the disease. Nevertheless, it was revealed that the ability to identify SPVD, month of occurrence and education level improves its management. This paper recommends gender tailed support to sweet potato farming, increased awareness and training of farmers to improve their knowledge of SPVD, and development of effective control strategies for SPVD.

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