Integrated Late Blight Management for Potato: The Case of FFS and FRG in Central Highlands of Ethiopia

Abebe Chindi


Potato is the fastest growing staple food crop and source of cash income for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. Potato production was almost impossible during the rainy season in the central high lands of Ethiopia due to potato late blight diseases. Recently, the introduction of late blight tolerant varieties changed the trend and farmers were able to overcome their food insecurity problem during the long rainy season. A participatory potato technology development and dissemination process was undertaken in the central highlands of Ethiopia in four districts of Oromia regional states using Integrated Disease Management /IDM/ for Potato late blight disease. A total of thirteen FFSs and thirty six FRGs were organized to conduct the activity. Thus, participatory research methods of through farmer’s field school (FFSs) and farmers research group (FRGs) were organized to evaluate and promote the technologies. The number of participant farmers in each FFS and FRG included an average of 25 and 15, respectively. The experiment was laid in split plot design putting fungicide spray as main plot and potato clones as sub-plot. To see the difference in their reaction to late blight disease a fungicide (Ridoml MZ 62.3% WP) was sprayed twice at a rate of 2 kg/ha. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that there was a highly significant difference (P<0.001) on yielding ability among the clones evaluated. Thus, mean separation test was carried out using least significance difference (LSD) test procedure. The highest yield was obtained from the clone CIP-392650.516 which was significantly different from all the varieties tested. Clones, Kp–90134.2 and CIP–386423.13 gave a non-significant yield difference. Unpaired t-test revealed that there was a significant difference between the two participatory research approaches, FFS and FRG, in respect to total yield. A higher yield advantage was obtained by using FFS approach when compared to FRG approach. On the other hand, when comparing the yield values obtained in sprayed and unsprayed plots separately, the clone CIP-392650.516 in sprayed condition gave the highest significant yield (P<0.05) under sprayed and unsprayed conditions. In general, the FFS approach helped the farmers' to acquire more knowledge and equipped them with technical know-how on the proper management of the potato fields which was reflected by the superior yield of the varieties.

Keywords: Farmer field school, Farmer research group, Potato IDM, Late blight, AUDPC and Participatory research

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