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Steve Agong
Maina Mwangi
Ruth Kahuthia-Gathu
Wanjohi Waceke


Potato is the second most important crop after maize for food and nutrition security in Kenya. Late blight is a major threat to potato production causing losses of up to 100% if not controlled. Poor production and disease management practices enhance the development and occurrence of potato late blight. A survey was conducted in Nyandarua County to assess potato production and disease management practices on the development and occurrence of late blight. Solvin’s formula was used to determine the sample of 105 farmers. Data on socio-demographic aspects, prevalent potato diseases, management options, and agronomic practices were collected and analyzed using SPSS version 25. Major findings reflected a positive correlation (r = 0.57, n = 105, p = 0.001) between the size of farms owned and the area under potato. Awareness of biological control practices and integrated disease management was 33.3% and 28.6%, respectively.  Practices largely influencing disease prevalence included the use of single variety (86.7%) and farm-saved seeds (74.3%), providing a medium for inoculum incubation. Averagely, 48.6% of farmers practice mono-cropping, and 13.3% leave plant debris in the field which enhances inoculum build-up and recurrence. An average of 65.8% use fungicides in a single class, leading to the pathogen developing resistance. It is therefore recommended that potato farmers adhere to good agricultural practices including crop rotation, intercropping, alternation of fungicide classes, use of biological control products, use of clean certified seeds, proper field sanitation, and primarily Integrated Disease Management to minimize the prevalence of late blight and the associated heavy use of chemical pesticides.


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