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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2013 in Stuttgart-Hohenheim

"Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum"

Pest Status and Farmers' Pest Management Practices in Sweetpotato Cropping Systems of Uganda

Joshua Okonya1, J├╝rgen Kroschel2

1International Potato Center (CIP), Global Program of Integrated Crop and Systems Research, Uganda
2International Potato Center (CIP), Global Program of Integrated Crop and Systems Research, Peru


Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatus (L.) Lam.) is the third most important food crop in Uganda. Although it is considered a food security crop, its productivity is far below its potential. This study assessed the pest status and farmers' perception and management practices of the most economically important insect pests of sweetpotato, i.e. the sweetpotato weevils Cylas puncticollis Boheman and C. brunneus F. and the sweetpotato butterfly Acraea acerata Hew.
A total of 192 rural farm households of the districts Kabale, Kasese, Gulu, Masindi, Soroti and Wakiso were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Additionally, the abundance, infestation rate and intensity of infestation of all three pests was assessed and the root yield loss caused by Cylas spp. quantified over two growing seasons in the districts of Kabale and Masindi.
Over 80% of farmers grow sweetpotato for home consumption, emphasising its importance as a food security crop. Cylas spp. and A. acerata were ranked as the first (57% of the households) and second (37% of the households) most damaging insects to sweetpotato. The prevalence of A. acerata larvae was generally low (8-25%) and its larvae caused very little defoliation (1-25%). For Cylas spp., the abundance was relatively high (40-97%), with a consequential high yield loss (37-51%) of marketable root weight. Farmer management practices of A. acerata included use of chemical insecticides (24% of households), ash application (3%) and hand picking (2%). However, 65% and 87% of the households did not apply any control measure for A. acerata and Cylas spp., respectively.
All pests are a big constraint to sweetpotato production in Uganda. Thus, appropriate integrated pest management (IPM) strategies must be designed, particularly for Cylas spp., if the food security and livelihoods of farmers who depend on this crop is to be improved.

Keywords: Acraea acerata, Cylas spp, farmers┬┤ perception, IPM, Ipomoea batatus, sweetpotato butterfly, sweetpotato weevil

Contact Address: Jürgen Kroschel, International Potato Center (CIP), Global Program of Integrated Crop and Systems Research, Apartado 1558, 12 Lima, Peru, e-mail: j.kroschel@cgiar.org

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