Farmers' Perceptions of the Effects of Plant Diseases on the Yield and Nutritive Value of Crop Residues used for Peri-Urban Dairy Production on the Deccan Plateau: Findings from Participatory Rural Appraisals uri icon

abstract

  • Plant diseases influence the quantity and quality of groundnut and sorghum crop residues used as fodder forruminants. The present socio-economic study assessed farmers' perceptions, their awareness, and the relativeimportance and impact of plant diseases in farmers' livelihood systems. Case studies were carried out in fourvillages in the state of Andhra Pradesh in the Deccan Plateau with the help of participatory rural appraisal(PRA) techniques. The results from PRAs suggest that sorghum and groundnut crop residues constitute amajor source of fodder, and predominantly provide 'feed security' to the ruminants during summer, as fewalternatives are available to farmers in dryland areas. The problem of foliar diseases cannot be viewed inisolation, as farmers' concerns are more on the cumulative effects of pests and diseases. Farmers believe thatdiseases reduce the quality of crop residues that leads to feed refusal by, and poor health of ruminants. Theeffects on the quality of crop residues are more seriously perceived in groundnut as farmers report 50% lossesin foliage and fodder yield. In sorghum, the perceived losses are 10-30%, but low price offered by traders fordisease-affected fodder reduce earnings of the poor from fodder sale. Commercial markets exist for foddertransactions of sorghum stover while no such markets are reported for groundnut crop residues. The poor arethe link to the sorghum fodder market. Therefore, validation of fodder-related technologies through the pooris necessary to increase cash incomes from fodder sale. Genetic improvement of feed-quality of crop residueswithout compromising on essential yield traits is critical for farmers' acceptance of new sorghum andgroundnut varieties. Research on inexpensive and easy-to-use pest and disease management options isnecessary to improve the quantity and quality of crop residues of sorghum and groundnut

publication date

  • 2000