Godfrey Sseruwu, Paul Shanahan, Rob Melis, Gorrettie Ssemakula


A participatory rural appraisal was conducted in Kabale district in south-western Uganda and Luwero district in central Uganda to establish farmers’ awareness and perceptions of Alternaria leaf petiole and stem blight (commonly referred to as Alternaria blight) and their varietal preferences. The study revealed that the two regions had similar production constraints but the degree of importance of the constraints varies between each region. Diseases, pests and drought are the most important production constraints in both regions. Among the diseases, Alternaria blight is the most important disease constraint in Kabale whereas sweetpotato virus disease is the most important in Luwero. Among the pests, caterpillars (Acraea acerata) are a bigger problem in Luwero than in Kabale, while vermin, especially mole rats (Tachyoryctes splendens), are a bigger problem in Kabale than in Luwero. Healthy planting material availability and distribution are important constraints. Among the most desired sweetpotato attributes in both districts are high yield, early maturity, high dry mass, and storability in the soil after maturity to enable sequential harvesting. Most of the farmers consider Alternaria blight to be a serious production constraint and estimate the yield loss in severely infected fields to be above 50%. However, Alternaria blight incidence has seasonal variations with higher incidences in the wet and very wet seasons in Kabale. On the other hand, Alternaria blight is most severe during the dry season in Luwero. Most of the farmers are not aware of any control measures for these diseases. However, some of them use rogueing as a control measure and others cultivate resistant genotypes like Rwabafuruki and Nyinakamanzi in Kabale, and Kakamega in Luwero. Since most of the existing genotypes are susceptible, breeding for Alternaria blight is a priority in both districts combined with an effective seed distribution system to increase utilization of the improved cultivars by the resource poor farmers.


Sweetpotato, Alternaria blight, preferred attributes, production constraints, yield loss

Full Text:



Abidin, P.E., F.A. van Eeuwijik, P. Stam, Struik.P.C, D.P. Zhang, M. Hermann and E.E. Carey. 2002. Evaluation of sweepotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) germplasm from North-eastern Uganda through a Farmer Participatory Approach. In: Ames, T., editor Proceedings 1st IS on Sweetpotato. Acta Hortic. 583, ISHS. p. 61-68.

Bashaasha, B., R.O.M. Mwanga, C.O. p’Obwoya and P.T. Ewell. 1995. Sweetpotato in the farming and food systems of Uganda: A Farm Survey Report. International Potato Centre (CIP) and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Lima, Peru. pp. 63.

Ceccarelli, S., S. Grando, R. Tutwiler, J. Baha, A.M. Martini, H. Salahieh and A. Goodchild. 2000. A methodological study on participatory barley breeding. I. Selection phase. Euphytica 111: 91-104.

Chambers, R. 1997. Whose reality counts? Putting the first last. Intermediate Technology Publication London, United Kingdom. pp. 106.

Chiona, M. 2009. Towards enhancement of β-carotene content of high dry mass sweetpotato genotypes in Zambia. PhD Thesis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa: pp.174.

Derera, J., P. Tongoona, A. Langyintuo, M.D.Laing and B. Vivex. 2006. Farmer perceptions on maize cultivars in the marginal eastern belt of Zimbabwe and their implications for breeding. Afr. Crop Sci J. 14: 1-15.

FAOSTAT. 2010. Food Agricultural Organisation Statistics.

Gibson, R.W., E. Byamukama, I. Mpembe, J. Kayongo and R.O.M. Mwanga. 2008. Working with farmer groups in Uganda to develop new sweetpotato cultivars: Decentralisation and building on traditional approaches. Euphytica 159: 217-228.

Gibson, R.W., R.O.M. Mwanga, S. Namanda, S.C. Jeremia and I. Barker. 2009. Review of sweetpotato systems in East and Southern Africa. International Potato Centre (CIP), Lima, Peru. Integrated Crop Management Working Paper 2009-1. pp. 48.

Hakiza, J.J., G. Turyamureeba, R.M. Kakuhenzire, B. Odongo and R.O.M. Mwanga. 2000. Potato and sweetpotato improvement in Uganda: A historical perspective. Afri. Pot. Ass. Conf. Proc. 5:47-58.

Joshi, A. and J.R. Witcombe. 1996. Farmer participatory crop improvement. 2. Participatory variety selection, a case study of India. Exp. Agric. 32: 461-477.

Laurie, S.M. and M.D. Magoro. 2008. Evaluation and release of new sweetpotato varieties through farmer participatory selection. Afr. J. Agri. Res. 3: 672-676.

Low, J. 2000. Prospects for sustaining potato and sweetpotato cropping systems in densely populated highlands of south western Uganda. Social Science Working Paper 2000-1. International Potato Centre (CIP), Lima, Peru. pp. 61.

Mwanga, R.O.M., B. Odongo, C. Niringiye, A. Alajo, B. Kigozi, R. Makumbi, E. Lugwana, J. Namakula, I. Mpembe, R. Kapinga, B. Lemaga, J. Nsumba, T. S and C.G. Yencho. 2009. 'NASPOT 7, 'NASPOT 8', 'NASPOT 9 0',' NASPOT 10 O', and "Dimbuka-Bukulula' Sweetpotato. HortScience 44: 828-832.

Mwanga, R.O.M., B. Odongo, G. Turyamureeba, A. Alajo, G.C. Yencho, R.W. Gibson, N.E.J.M. Smit and E.E.Carey. 2003. Release of six Sweetpotato cultivars (‘NASPOT 1’ to ‘NASPOT 6’) in Uganda. HortScience 38, 475-476.

Mwanga, R.O.M., C. Niringiye, A. Alajo, J. Namakula, I. Mpembe, S. Tumwgamire, R.W. Gibson and G.C. Yencho. 2011. 'NASPOT 11', a sweetpotato cultivar bred by a participatory plant breeding approach in Uganda. HortScience 46: 317-321.

Mwanga, R.O.M., C. Niringiye, B. Lamega, R. Kapinga, G.C. Yencho and B. Odongo. 2007. Breeding efforts to develop high-yielding, multiple pest-resistant sweetpotato germplasm in Uganda. In: Kapinga, R., et al., editors, Trends in the potato and sweetpotato sectors in sub-Saharan Africa and their contribution to the Millenium Development Goals. Arusha, Tanzania. p. 60-71.

Narayanasamy, N. 2009. Pairwise ranking. Participatory rural appraisal: Principles, methods and application. SAGE Publication Pvt Limited, New Delhi, India. p. 221-231.

NEMA. 2004. Luwero District State of the Environment Report. National Environment Management Authority (Uganda), Kampala, Uganda. pp. 109.

Ndolo, P.J., T. Mcharo, E.E. Carey, S.T. Gichuki, C. Ndinya and J. Malinga'a. 2001. Participatory on-farm selection of sweetpotato varieties in western Kenya. Afr. Crop Sci. J. 9: 41-48.

Odendo, M., H.D. Groote, O. Odongo and P. Oucho. 2002. Participatory Rural Appraisal of Farmers’ Criteria for Selection of Maize Varieties and Constraints to Maize Production in Moist-Midaltitude Zone of Western Kenya. A case study of Butere-Mumias, Busia and Homa Bay Districts. Final Technical Report. CIMMYT, Nairobi, Kenya. pp. 17.

Ojiambo, P.S., O. Ayiecho and J.O. Nyabundi. 1999. Severity of Alternaria leaf spot and seed infection by Alternaria sesami (Kawamura) Mohanty and Behera, as affected by plant age of sesame (Solanum indicum L.). J. Phytopathol. 147: 403-407.

Osiru, M., E. Adipala, O.M. Olanya, B. Lemaga and R. Kapinga. 2007. Occurrence and distribution of Alternaria leaf petiole and stem blight in Uganda. Pla. Pathol. 6: 112-119.

SPSS. 2008. Statistical Package for Social Sciences. SPSS-user guide. Version 15.0 for windows. SPSS Inc. 1989-2006.

Uganda Bureau of Statistics. 2002. The Uganda population and housing census, population size and distribution, October 2006, Kampala, Uganda. pp. 60.

Were, W.V., P. Shanahan, R. Melis and O.O. Omari. 2012. Gene action controlling farmer preferred traits in cassava varieties adapted to mid-altitude tropical climatic conditions of western Kenya. Fie. Crops Res. 133: 113-118.

Yanggen, D. and S. Nagujja. 2006. The use of orange fleshed sweetpotato to combat Vitamin A deficiency in Uganda. A study of varietal preferences, extension strategies and postharvest utilization. International Potato Centre, Lima, Peru. pp. 80.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Godfrey Sseruwu, Paul Shanahan, Rob Melis, Gorrettie Ssemakula

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Plant Breeding and Genetics
ISSN: 2305-297X (Online), 2308-121X (Print)
© EScience Press. All Rights Reserved.