Smallholder Farmers’ Knowledge, Perception and Management of Rice Blast Disease in Upland Rice Production in Tanzania

  •  Ibrahim Hashim    
  •  Delphina Mamiro    
  •  Robert Mabagala    
  •  Tadele Tefera    


The objective of this paper was to investigate farmers’ knowledge and management of rice blast disease in Tanzania. Farmers’ household survey was conducted in five districts namely Mvomero, Morogoro rural, Ulanga, Korogwe and Muheza in April and May 2017. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using semi-structured questionnaire and observations made through transect walks across selected villages. Farmers observed symptoms of rice blast disease for the first time in the past 3 to 10 years, with higher severity of blast disease in April to May each year. About 46.3% of the respondents were not aware of the cause and spread of rice blast disease. About 39.9% of the respondents associated rice blast disease with drought, high rainfall and temperature (8.7%) and soil fertility problems (5.1%). About 18.7% of the farmers reported burning of crop residues, 17.0% use of ash, 4.0% use of nitrogen fertilizer and 6.3% application of fungicide for management of rice blast disease. The majority (54.0%) of farmers did not apply any management method. Most farmers planted local upland rice varieties, with only 7.7% using improved varieties. About 69.6% of the respondents shared information on disease management among themselves. Lack of knowledge, ability to afford and unavailability of effective blast disease control methods were reported to affect the management of the disease. Strengthening the capacity of farmers to identify the disease and proper management practices will sustainably solve the problem of rice blast disease in upland rice production.

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