Farmer Knowledge in Potato Virus Epidemiology and Control in Kenya


Potato is an important food security crop in Kenya. High prevalence of potato viruses is one of the major causes of low potato yields. Implementation of effective virus management strategies requires information on farmers’ perceptions and practices on virus epidemiology and control. To better understand farmers’ knowledge and practices in virus control and set possible pathways for intervention, a household survey involving 147 respondents was conducted in two major potato-growing regions in Kenya. Lack of sufficient technical information on potato virus symptoms, vectors and modes of transmission was found to be the major hindrance to farmers’ efforts towards virus control. A spider diagram approach was therefore used to determine the aspect of virus control that required the highest prioritization for immediate intervention by policy makers. Use of virus-resistant cultivars was found to require the most urgent attention compared to other aspects of virus control and was expected to have greater impact in lowering virus prevalence. This study showed that enhancing farmer knowledge needs to be prioritised as this is a key determinant of the success of the virus control strategy to be selected for implementation.