Main content area

Disease risk perception and diversity of management strategies by farmers: The case of anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides on water yams (Dioscorea alata) in Guadeloupe

Penet, L., Barthe, E., Alleyne, A., Blazy, J.M.
Crop protection 2016 v.88 pp. 7-17
Glomerella cingulata, Dioscorea alata, weed control, monitoring, risk management, farmers, management systems, interviews, climate change, yams, cumulative risk, plant cultural practices, risk perception, anthracnose, crop rotation, socioeconomics, experts, Guadeloupe
Disease perception and adequate management practices are two essential issues faced by farmers, especially in the current context of climate change which may potentially increase disease risk. We investigated the diversity of water yam cropping systems in Guadeloupe through interviews, how producers and international yam research scientists perceived anthracnose, and how this perception correlated with farmers’ risk management strategies. We found that disease perception by farmers is very close to perception by international yam experts, as both have the same perception of the hierarchy of factors translating into disease. Three different yam production strategies coexist at a local scale, where agronomic practices and socio-economic profiles are distinct and consistent with attitude toward anthracnose risk management. Six factors were perceived as decreasing the disease: associated crop species; crop rotation; staking; weeding; crop monitoring and varietal admixture. Yam producers raising crops more intensively were risk prone, while others usually sought practices to manage disease appearance and spread. Both cumulative risk and past anthracnose epidemic experiences translated into heavier reliance on chemicals. These results have practical implications for designing best yam crop management systems and control of yam anthracnose.