Effect of farming practices and farm history on incidence of coconut lethal yellowing in Mozambique
Management of coconut (Cocos nucifera) lethal yellowing disease (CLYD), which has killed about eight million coconut trees in Mozambique, has proved challenging. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of farming practices and related history, on the CLYD incidence in Mozambique. The methodology included a socioeconomic questionnaire to the households and direct observations on the palm farms. The collected data were analysed using logistic regression. Five out of 11 explanatory variables tested, namely farm age, availability of other palm species on the coconut farm, type of coconut varieties grown, root cut practices, and intercropping had a significant (P< 0.05) effect on CLYD incidence. Coconut farms <10 years had higher odds of higher disease incidence compared to the farms between 10 to 40 years old. The presence of other palm species in the coconut farms had two times higher odds of having higher disease incidence levels compared to farms without other palm species. Tall coconut varieties were likely to be more tolerant to CLYD compared to dwarf varieties. Coconut farms with some kind of intercropping had two times higher odds of having higher disease incidence levels compared to pure stands. The practice of cutting coconut roots had three times higher odds of having high disease incidence levels compared to non-practicing farms. Farm age, availability of other palm species on the coconut farm, type of coconut varieties grown, root cut practices and intercropping need to be considered for integrated CLYD management.
Key Words: Cocos nucifera, inter cropping, logistic regression