Farmers in four sub counties in Buikwe and Bugiri districts are upbeat about the outcomes from insecticide control trials for whiteflies in cassava. The farmers are taking part in farmer participatory trials/demonstrations in Ngogwe and Najja sub counties in Buikwe, as well as Nankoma and Mutere sub counties in Bugiri district. The trials were established as part of the activities of the African Cassava Whitefly Project (ACWP II) which is exploring different sustainable solutions to the whitefly problem in different African countries.
The trials are testing the efficacy of different insecticide application regimes for control of whiteflies in cassava. The regimes include dipping protection (DP) in which stem cuttings are dipped in an insecticide prior to planting; early protection (EP) which involves DP followed by two insecticide sprays within the first four months after planting. The other regimes are: no early protection (NEP) in which non-dipped cuttings are sprayed twice between 5-7months after planting; and no protection.
Preliminary results from the trials show that early protection is offering the best protection against whiteflies according to Dr. Irene Bayiyana, a lead scientist on the project. “Early protection has demonstrated much less whitefly damage, increased yield and more planting materials (cuttings),” said Robert Ssembajjwe, one of the farmers participating in the trials in Ngogwe, Buikwe district.
This was during a recent visit by the ACWP team with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, and members of the media on April 12-13, 2021. The farmers also noted that they could not wait to apply recommendations from the trials in their own fields when the trials are concluded.
While addressing farmers and journalists during the visit, Dr. Chris Omongo, the Principal Investigator of the project remarked, “Results from this project will complement other management options against the whitefly which is responsible for millions of dollars in losses to farmers in Uganda as a vector for two problematic diseases – cassava mosaic and brown streak diseases.”
Results from this project will complement other management options against the whitefly which is responsible for millions of dollars in losses to farmers in Uganda as a vector for two problematic diseases – cassava mosaic and brown streak diseases.DR. CHRIS OMONGO– PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, ACWP
Farmers are also getting extra benefits from the trials as James Mwanje, a farmer in Bugiri testified. “We are progressively understanding and applying best practices for pesticide use since we have got training on their use from NARO,” he said.
Cassava varieties involved in the trials include NASE 3, NASE 12, Mkumba and several local varieties in the different trial locations. Trial harvesting and final field data collection is currently ongoing (June 2021).