Baseline study report of a community participatory bacterial wilt management programme in Ulleri and Jhilibarang villages of western Nepal.
This baseline study was conducted to establish benchmark data for the four year community participatory bacterial wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum) management programme started in Ulleri and Jhilibarang villages, Nepal, in 1993. The objective of the programme is to eradicate bacterial wilt from the traditional potato fields through maintaining a moratorium for three years by all households in the villages. Through participatory rural appraisal conducted in early 1994, the households were categorised into four wealth groups, and general physiographic and socioeconomic information was collected. Using a proportionate stratified random sampling based on wealth groups, a sample household survey (41 and 38 respondents in the two villages) was conducted during 1995. As determined by the physiography and climate, potatoes were the main commodity in the agriculture of the study villages. However, the area, production and productivity of potatoes were declining over the years mainly due to bacterial wilt. The yield loss, as reported by a few farmers was as high as 100%, and the majority reported losses of up to 50%. The potatoes produced were mainly consumed at home. Before inception of the programme, farmers were unaware of bacterial wilt and its modes of transmission. They had a practice of changing seed stock from time to time but were unaware whether that would have been a measure to check the incidence of bacterial wilt. This was evident from the fact that they were only topping up insufficient seed stock from already infected sources. During the time of the survey the majority of farmers had a positive attitude towards the programme.