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Insect pests constitute the greatest constraint to cassava production in Sierra Leone and Africa as a whole. The aim of the study was to generate up to date information on the status of cassava insect pests in the country. The objectives were to identify, map and determine the prevalence, incidence, severity and distribution in the major geo-political districts of the country.
A total of 171 cassava farms were visited countrywide during the rainy season survey whilst a total of 193 farms were visited during the dry season survey with an average of 15 farms per district.
The result of the survey reveals significant differences in percentage incidence, severity score and prevalence of the major cassava pests with respect to district, cassava variety and season. Percentage incidences and severity scores of the major insect pests were higher on local cassava varieties in most of the districts compared to improved varieties. The Population of the assessed insect pests were generally higher during the dry season compared to the rainy season. The population of grasshopper one of the most destructive insect pests of cassava was generally higher and more damaging in the southern and eastern regions of the country compared to the Northern and Western Area of the country. The outcome of this survey will benefit cassava farmers; as the key insect pests identified from the survey will serve as guide in the training of cassava farmers in the management of these insect pests which will subsequently lead into increase in yield and income of farmers.
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