Farmer Preference of Cassava Cultivars in Eastern Uganda: A Choice Beyond Disease Resistance

The cassava breeding program in Uganda has released many improved cultivars resistant/tolerant to cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) and cassava mosaic disease (CMD). However, many farmers have continued to use cultivars that are susceptible to these major viral diseases but with diverse attributes. There is a need to understand farmers’ cassava cultivar attribute preferences and CBSD, CMD prevalence on the preferred cultivars. A total of 150 cassava farmer fields (74 in Bukedea district and 76 in Kumi district) located in eastern Uganda were evaluated for farmers’ cultivars and attribute preferences, as well as prevalence of CBSD and CMD on the farmer selected cultivars. The eastern region was of interest in the study, due to it-being the major cassava producing area in the country. In addition, 30 cassava plants of different genotypes were chosen randomly along transects of each field and assessed for CBSD/CMD incidence and severity on preferred cultivars. Results showed that more than 64% of the farmers in eastern Uganda preferred NASE 03 due to its sweet taste and high yields, followed by NASE 14 (21%) because of its high yields. There was a significant (P≤0.001) correlation between cassava cultivars preferred and CBSD severity (r = -0.56), CBSD incidence (r = -0.53), CMD severity (r = -0.51) and CMD incidence (r = -0.39). In corroboration, the most preferred cultivar, NASE 03 was found most susceptible to CBSD and CMD in both Bukedea and Kumi districts with CBSD incidence of 62.2% and 52.7% and CMD incidence of 56.9% and 34.3% respectively. The results showed that CBSD and CMD are prevalent on farmer preferred cassava cultivars, and that farmer cultivar preference depends not only on disease resistance but also other attributes.
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East Africa
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