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Olanya M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Nelson R.,Cornell University | Hakiza J.,Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute | Ewell P.,USAID REDSO | And 7 more authors.
Food Security | Year: 2010

Farmer field schools (FFS) and other participatory approaches are useful methods for rapid delivery of agricultural technologies, knowledge, and information in resource-constrained agro-ecosystems. Cultivar selection, weekly fungicide applications and integrated disease management (IDM) based on a disease monitoring strategy were evaluated at FFS for late blight control. Farmers' knowledge and perceptions of pest management and agronomic practices were also assessed for both FFS participants and non-participants from 1999-2002. Late blight development and tuber yield varied among field schools, but cultivars had significant effects on late blight severity and yield over a range of disease management options relative to the untreated check. FFS participants and non-participants used diverse sources of pest management information, but differed significantly (P <0.05) in their use of management methods and practices. Cultivar resistance and fungicides were ranked as major components of pest control by 18%-85% and 7%-30% of FFS participants and non-participants, respectively. Differences in knowledge of cropping practices and pest biology, causal agents, disease symptoms, factors favoring disease development and cultural management of insects and storage pests were recorded. Participatory field experiments, access to resistant cultivars, disease management and use of various agronomic practices learnt at FFS can greatly improve pest control and potato production. © 2010 U.S. Government.

Lemaga B.,Agricultural Transformation Agency | Boms D.,International Potato Center | Kakuhenzire R.,International Potato Center | Woldegiorgis G.,Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research | And 4 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Smallholder farmers in eastern Africa are resource poor, have low level or no formal education, use traditional methods of production and are often averse to adopt new technologies. Through two seed potato projects funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and USAID in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, capacity building was undertaken as a tool for improving stakeholder's knowledge and skills for potato production and effective dissemination of potato technologies. Capacity building methods used included workshops, participatory research and extension, support in infrastructure, demonstrations, and on-site trainings that centered on "learning-by-doing". The trainings given to researchers, the private sector and farmers focused on seed potato production and management, use of quality seed and postharvest technologies. In training ware potato farmers, emphasis was placed on simple positive selection (PS) techniques to help them improve and maintain the quality of own-saved seed potato. Over 2,800 seed potato growers and 34,000 ware potato farmers were trained during September 2008 and August 2011. Also trained were about 10 research staff and 15 aeroponics technicians, 800 extension agents and selected farmers who served as trainers to the potato farmers. The trainings resulted in rapid adoption of seed and ware potato production technologies and enhanced availability of and access to quality seed. Using the knowledge and technologies they acquired, seed producers obtained 2-5 times higher yields than the national average yields. Use of seed from PS on average increased yields in excess of 30%. About 150 diffused light stores with capacities ranging from 2-25 t were constructed with partial support by the projects and over 50 were constructed by farmers without support. The experience showed that farmers are fairly quick to learn, willing to adopt technologies that benefit them and invest in acquiring them.

Kakuhenzire R.,International Potato Center | Lemaga B.,Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency | Tibanyendera D.,Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute | Boms D.,International Potato Center | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Seed potato accounts for 40-50% of the total cost in potato production in highlands of SSA. However, this is often the most quality-compromised input due its unavailability and high cost among smallholder farmers who resort to repeated planting of home-saved seed to solve the problem with consequent in low yields, low enterprise profitability, food and income insecurity as well. To mitigate this, participatory trials were conducted with farmer groups in Uganda and Kenya to test and adapt positive selection (PS) as a technique for improving home-saved seed between 2009 and 2011. Positive selection involves identification, marking and monitoring healthy-looking potato plants during growth until they are harvested and tubers kept use as seed. Positive selected seed (PSS) was compared with basic seed (BS), certified seed (CS), quality declared seed (QDS) and farmer selected seed (FSS) for bacterial wilt (BW) incidence, latent BW infection in seed and total tuber yield. NCM-ELISA showed that 12.6% of tuber samples obtained from PSS had latent BW infection compared to 44.7% from FSS. All samples from PSS were free from Potato leaf-roll virus, PVY and had lower infection incidence with PVS and PVX than FSS. In Uganda, the incidence of BW symptomatic potato plants in progeny crops did not exceed 3% in PSS compared with 6.7% in FSS and incidence did not significantly (P≤0.05) differ from BS. Bacterial wilt incidence in PSS and FSS in Kenya was 12.6 and 40.8%, respectively. Positive selected seed had significantly (P≤0.05) higher yield than FSS and did not significantly (P≤0.05) differ in yield from BS in Uganda but in Kenya. Positive selection in both Uganda and Kenya increased potato productivity between 19 and 52% over FSS. Overall, PSS was superior to FSS and was comparable in quality and performance to BS or CS which are produced under highly controlled conditions. The only variable costs between PSS and FSS are stakes and selection time in order to realise such large benefits in seed quality and progeny crop productivity thus rendering the technology amenable to smallholder farmer adoption.

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