Submitted to: Australian Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2005
Publication Date: 9/26/2005
Citation: Olanya, O.M., Hakiza, J.J., Akem, C.N., Imelda, I., El-Bedewy, R. 2005. Farmers' perception of agronomic practices associated with potato production in the highland tropics and the impacts of field school participation. Australian Plant Pathology. Conference Handbook of Abstracts, Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, September 26, 2005, pg 176 Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Improvement of agronomic practices can result in increased potato yield in the highland tropics where late blight is a recurring problem. Farmer’s perception of crop management options and comparative changes in agronomic practices attributed to farmer participation at field schools were evaluated after three seasons of field school activity from 1999 to 2002. A participatory, hands-on learning, crop phenology-based, and constraint-oriented curriculum was implemented. Crop and pest management options were compared between participants and non-participants on a sample of 30 farmers per group. Through survey questionnaire and participatory rural appraisal techniques, at least sixteen field schools were examined. Seed selection, planting practices, crop management(hilling, manure or fertilizer application, weed management), pest control options, and storage techniques were documented. The potato production constraints recorded were similar among field schools and farmers. Seed degeneration, potato diseases, and low tuber yield were ranked as major constraints by both groups. Improved crop residue destruction, hilling, and crop rotation were detected on 68% of participants and 45% of non-participants of field schools. Low late blight disease and increased tuber yield was recorded in replicated field plots managed by farmers with more than 2 cycles of field school activity. These results imply that participatory field school experimentation can improve crop management practices, and increase yield.