IITA - Healthy seedling systems for safer, more productive vegetables in East Africa

Project: Research project

Description

This development of this project stems from recent advances and progress made in two related projects, currently underway in Kenya and Tanzania. Both projects have demonstrated impressive responses in crop yields and quality through the introduction and use by farmers’ of healthy seedlings. Additional benefits have included reduced pesticide use in-field. We intend to build on this progress and extend the benefits to Uganda and Ethiopia.
Pests and diseases are repeatedly cited as major causes for production losses / key constraints to vegetable production, especially under the intensive cropping conditions experienced in the urban and peri-urban sites supplying fresh, perishable products to the urban centres. Such conditions provide strong selection pressures for the build up of pests and diseases, which in turn encourages greater reliance on synthetic chemical pesticides by farmers. A limited awareness of causal pest and disease problems however, results in misuse and application of pesticides at the expense the environment, consumer and farmers themselves. Basic ifromation and support towards better knowledge of pest and disease problems and GAP’s can make significant differences to productivity and the overall wellbeing of the environment. Root knot nematodes are a malignant soil borne curse to vegetable farmers, which persistently undermine crop yields. They are a particular concern as few farmers are aware of them, do not recognize and are ignorant of their damage and consequently their transmission through contaminated seedlings. Vigorous and healthy seedlings are crucial to successful production. However, the substantial infection of vegetable plants in the majority of seedling nurseries used by farmers is a key threat to productivity. In combination with host resistance, healthy seedlings provide great potential for improving productivity and limiting the use of pesticides. Ensuring reliable and consistent availability of good quality, pest- and disease-free planting material through nurseries, represents a long term strategy towards improving productivity.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/05/1630/09/18