Farmer awareness, coping mechanisms and economic implications of coffee leaf rust disease in Uganda
Coffee leaf rust (CLR) still remains a serious threat to the economics of coffee farming in Uganda. The disease is more severe on Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) at mid and low altitude (1500 m and below) where crop losses is up to 50%. The objective of this study was to document farmers’ knowledge about the disease, economic implications and coping strategies across the Arabica growing zones in Uganda. A stratified random sampling procedure was adopted. The main data collection tool was a semi-structured questionnaire for face-to-face interview and checklist for focus group discussions (FGDs). SPSS for windows (Version 16) was used for statistical analysis. Overall, 83.8% had knowledge on the disease. The disease reportedly causes premature defoliation and loss of photosynthetic surfaces, leading to appearance of pale yellow spots on the lower surface of the leaves (72.3%) and expanding berries failing to fill up and young berries shedding off (11.5%). The most susceptible variety reported was SL14; while KP423 was reportedly tolerant. Results further revealed that rust incidence led to a significant (p ≤ 0.01) reduction in Arabica coffee productivity and income by 49.5%. As cope up strategies, farmers practiced timely weeding (81.5%), chemical spraying mainly using Bordeaux mixture (20.8%), phyto-sanitary methods (8.1%), concoctions (10.4%), fertiliser application (12.4%) and planting tolerant varieties (9.2%). The use of concoctions and phyto-sanitary methods significantly (P ≤ 0.01) reduced the impact of the disease on annual production per ha by 1139 and 1255 kg, respectively.
Keywords: Coffee Leaf Rust, Indigenous knowledge, economic implication, Uganda
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