Viral infections greatly limit sweetpotato yields. Good farming practices are critical for effective disease management. 383 Ugandan farmers were surveyed to document symptom incidence, crop-management practices, and buyer preferences. Results showed that 89.27% farmers grow sweet potatoes yearly and 62.76% of these farmers were female. A total of 56.83% farmers obtained vine seeds from their previous gardens, 25.85% from neighbours, and 12.20% purchased. Only ~8% of sellers and ~4% of buyers were selected for disease-free materials. None of the farmers who used vine-cutting knives sterilised them. Almost half of farmers (47%) observed whitefly or aphids but most were unaware they are viral vectors. Most farmers (77%) observed viral symptoms, but few (<2%) recognised them as infections. Insufficient knowledge of sweetpotato viruses and their vectors is common and increases the risk of spread. Practices like vine selling, sharing of vines coupled with insufficient knowledge on sweet potato viruses and its vectors among farmers increase the risk of virus spread among different farms.
Key words: Sweet potato, seed exchange, local farmers, farming practices, vine selling.
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