Farmer knowledge, perceptions and management of maize lethal necrosis disease in selected agro-ecological zones of Uganda

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Barnabas Mudde
Florence M'mogi Olubayo
Douglas Watuku Miano
Godfrey Asea
Dora Chao Kilalo

Abstract

A new disease on the African continent called maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) that has been reported to cause up to 100% losses in neighbouring Kenya, has since spread to Uganda. Production of maize in Uganda is now under threat from this devastating virus disease. Understanding farmers’ knowledge, perceptions and management practices is a prerequisite to establishing an effective disease management approach to halt its spread in Uganda. A survey of 396 farmers from 14 major maize growing districts in five agro-ecological zones of Uganda was conducted in 2015 aimed at assessing farmers’ current knowledge of maize lethal necrosis disease and practices for its management. Most farmers (58.1%) had not heard of or observed MLN in their fields. The study reveals that 56.6% of the farmers interviewed first experienced MLN in the year 2014. There was uncertainty of the cause of MLN symptoms among 56.6% of the farmers. Most farmers observed MLN symptoms at one month after planting. Only 21.7% correctly identified MLN symptoms observed. The main MLN symptom observed by most farmers (60.6%) was chlorotic mottle on leaves. Up to 55.3% of farmers attempted to control MLN with the majority (77.4%) managing it through uprooting and burning the diseased plants, which they indicated was effective in managing MLN. These results suggest that MLN control could be achieved by enhancing farmers’ knowledge and considering successful farmer MLN management practices when developing and promoting management practices for this disease.


Keywords: Farmers’ knowledge, maize lethal necrosis, Uganda

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