Assessing farmers’ knowledge of the sweet potato weevils (Cylas spp.) in Aturtur Sub-county, Kumi district
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This is a report of the special project that was carried out in Aturtur Sub-County, Kumi District in Eastern Uganda to establish farmers’ knowledge of the Sweet Potato Weevil (Cylas formicarius) which is a major devastating pest in the area. The specific objectives were to: find out the farmer’s knowledge and perceptions of sweet potato weevils in Aturtur Sub County; Determine the extent and trends of damage in the last 10 years due to sweetpotato weevils in the Sub County; and determine the cultural methods used by smallholder farmers to control and alleviate the sweet potato weevils. Data was collected from 60 respondents (31 male and 29 female) from four different parishes of Ariet, Aturtur Apokin, and Apapai, using a questionnaire, Key Informant Interviews, and analysis done using SPSS. In each parish, one village was selected i.e. Alungar, Ocagoro, Orapada, and Oswapai villages in the respective parishes. The findings show that all farmers in the area of study had prior knowledge about the different pests that attack sweet potato. Ninety-seven (96.7 %) of the respondents identified weevils as the most destructive pest and this was followed by caterpillars (??? ) and rodents by 85%. The study revealed that Sweet potato production per unit area is still low and being characterized by fluctuations in yields year after year. The study also found out that 71.7% of the respondents depended on agriculture for a living. Different methods that were being used by farmers to manage the pests which include crop rotation, timely harvesting, weeding, re-hilling up and many others. In light of the above findings, it was concluded that Sweet potato weevils remain the most destructive pest of sweet potato. It is therefore recommended that any plans to increase sweet potato production and productivity must aim at eradicating the pest.