Groundnut rosette disease (GRD) is the most important viral disease of groundnuts in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, GRD infection especially before flowering results in 100% loss in pod yield. Surveys were conducted in 2016 and 2017 to determine the incidence and distribution of GRD in five major groundnut growing Counties of western Kenya. A structured questionnaire was used to assess GRD incidence and severity and farmers’ awareness about management of GRD. Reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for the detection of GRD agents in collected symptomatic samples. Results revealed that GRD was prevalent in all the fields of the five Counties. The highest mean disease incidence was in Busia County (35.7%) while the lowest incidence was in Siaya (23.1%). The most conspicuous symptoms observed in all the fields inspected were yellow/chlorotic rosette and green rosette. The highest mean disease severity was observed in farmers’ fields in Busia (3.1) and Bungoma (3.0) Counties, while the lowest was observed in Siaya (2.8). RT-PCR detected GRD agents in all the symptomatic samples. This study demonstrated the widespread occurrence of GRD in major growing regions of western Kenya and warrants the implementation of effective virus disease control strategies.
Keywords: Arachis hypogaea L., field survey, groundnut rosette disease, occurrence, severity