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Farmer Reported Pest and Disease Impacts on Root, Tuber, and Banana Crops and Livelihoods in Rwanda and Burundi


  • Joshua Sikhu Okonya

    (International Potato Center (CIP), P.O. Box 22274, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Walter Ocimati

    (Bioversity International, P.O. Box 24384, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Anastase Nduwayezu

    (Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), P.O. Box 73, Ruhengeri, Rwanda)

  • Déo Kantungeko

    (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), P.O. Box 1894, Bujumbura, Burundi)

  • Nicolas Niko

    (Institut des Sciences Agronomique du Burundi (ISABU), BP 795 Bujumbura, Burundi)

  • Guy Blomme

    (Bioversity International, c/o ILRI, P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

  • James Peter Legg

    (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), P.O. Box 34441, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

  • Jürgen Kroschel

    (International Potato Center (CIP), NASC Complex, DPS Marg, Pusa Campus, New Delhi 110012, India)


Biotic constraints cause major crop losses and, hence, food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. This study documented the popularity, production constraints, pests and diseases, farmers’ perceptions on the severity of biotic constraints and the impact of related crop losses on household food security for the key root, tuber and banana (RTB) crops (cassava, potato, sweetpotato and banana). Farmer interviews were conducted in 2014 covering 811 households in Rwanda and Burundi. Farmers were asked to list their RTB crop production constraints, name insect pests and diseases of RTB crops, estimate crop loss due to pests and diseases, and mention if their household experienced any form of food insecurity due to pests and diseases. Cutworms and late blight in potato, banana weevils and banana Xanthomonas wilt in banana, cassava whitefly and cassava mosaic disease in cassava, sweetpotato weevils, and sweetpotato virus disease in sweetpotato were the most predominant pests and diseases reported. Crop losses due to pests and diseases for sweetpotato, banana, potato and cassava were estimated at 26%, 29%, 33%, and 36%, respectively, in Rwanda and 37%, 48%, 38%, and 37% in Burundi. Pests and diseases reduce the profitability of RTB crops, threaten food security, and constitute a disincentive for investment. Sustainable and affordable integrated pest management packages need to be developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Sikhu Okonya & Walter Ocimati & Anastase Nduwayezu & Déo Kantungeko & Nicolas Niko & Guy Blomme & James Peter Legg & Jürgen Kroschel, 2019. "Farmer Reported Pest and Disease Impacts on Root, Tuber, and Banana Crops and Livelihoods in Rwanda and Burundi," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(6), pages 1-20, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:6:p:1592-:d:214289

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philip Verwimp & Juan Carlos Muñoz-Mora, 2018. "Returning Home after Civil War: Food Security and Nutrition among Burundian Households," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(6), pages 1019-1040, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Pircher & Conny J. M. Almekinders, 2021. "Making sense of farmers’ demand for seed of root, tuber and banana crops: a systematic review of methods," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 13(5), pages 1285-1301, October.
    2. Manners, Rhys & Vandamme, Elke & Adewopo, Julius & Thornton, Philip & Friedmann, Michael & Carpentier, Sebastien & Ezui, Kodjovi Senam & Thiele, Graham, 2021. "Suitability of root, tuber, and banana crops in Central Africa can be favoured under future climates," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    3. SangSik Lee & YiNa Jeong & SuRak Son & ByungKwan Lee, 2019. "A Self-Predictable Crop Yield Platform (SCYP) Based On Crop Diseases Using Deep Learning," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(13), pages 1-21, July.
    4. Willis Ndeda Ochilo & Stefan Toepfer & Privat Ndayihanzamaso & Idah Mugambi & Janny Vos & Celestin Niyongere, 2022. "Assessing the Plant Health System of Burundi: What It Is, Who Matters and Why," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(21), pages 1-19, November.

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