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Crop Protection
Vol. 75, 2015, Pages: 115–123

Farmers' perceptions and management of plant viruses in vegetables and legumes in tropical and subtropical Asia

Pepijn Schreinemachers, Swaminathan Balasubramaniam, N. Manikanda Boopathi, Cuong Viet Ha, Lawrence Kenyon, Suwanna Praneetvatakul, Aer Sirijinda, Nghia Tuan Le, Ramasamy Srinivasan, Mei-Huey Wu

AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Tainan, 74199, Taiwan.


Incidence of vector-transmitted virus diseases and the damage caused to vegetable crops by these diseases are reported to be increasing in countries with tropical and subtropical conditions. Virus-resistant crops and an integrated approach to crop management including appropriate control of plant-virus insect-vectors could reduce the problem. However, in developing countries, such a strategy is rarely applied effectively. We surveyed 800 growers of chili, tomato and mungbean in India, Thailand and Vietnam to understand what farmers know about plant viruses, their perceptions about yield damage, the control methods they choose to apply and the perceived effectiveness of these. Farmers regarded their economic losses from pests and diseases to be very substantial. Only a minority of them knew that certain disease symptoms were probably being caused by a plant virus and even fewer knew about the role of insect vectors in its spread. Farmers mostly relied on synthetic pesticides to manage the virus disease symptoms they observed. If farmers had better knowledge about plant viruses, their insect vectors, and cost-effective, safer means of control, then use of synthetic pesticides could be reduced substantially. Building knowledge among farmers is therefore an important way to address the diseases caused by plant viruses, while the development of virus-resistant varieties and simple and effective methods of vector control offer longer-term solutions.

Keywords: Tomato; Chili; Mungbean; Pest management; Developing countries.

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