Prevalence and Distribution of Cassava Bacterial Blight in the Kenyan Coast
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is one of the staple food crops grown in Kenya. Diseases remain one of the major constraints for cassava production. Apart from other major viral diseaes Cassava mosaic and Cassava brown streak, Cassava bacterial blight (CBB) caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv manihotis and Xanthomonas axonopodis pv cassavae are a major constraint in cassava production in Kenya. This study was done to identify the prevalence, distribution, and farmers' knowledge of cassava bacterial blight in the coastal region of Kenya. A survey was conducted involving 250 farmers who were randomly selected from two regions of Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties. Among the 250 farmers interviewed, 61.6 % identified cassava bacterial blight symptoms in their farms. The main varieties found growing in the region were Tajirika, Karembo, Kibandameno, and Shibe which were all confirmed by farmers as susceptible to cassava bacterial blight. During the survey, plant samples were randomly collected in the field. Out of the 70 samples collected, 40 of them were confirmed positive with X.pv manihotis and X.pv cassavae which cause cassava bacterial blight. The study concluded that there is a widespread of cassava bacterial blight in Kilifi and Taita taveta counties. Kilifi County had the highest incidence of 22% with Taita Taveta having the lowest incidence of 13%. Kilifi County had a higher severity of 8% as compared to Taita Taveta which had 5% Severity. Therefore there is a need for a proper management program to be deployed in managing the disease to enhance cassava production in the region.
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