Modeling farmers' awareness, perception and coping strategies of Leptocybe invasa Blue gum chalcid) infestation on Eucalyptus
Mundia, Irene M
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Pests and diseases has been a major constraint attributed to low productivity in forestry products among farmers in various parts of Kenya and other nations in other developing countries. This study utilizes primary field data to give empirical explanation as to which household and farm factors are associated with farmers' awareness, perception and control of L.Invasa infestation in western Kenya. A total of 100 household's randomly selected from five districts were surveyed. They were interviewed to investigate their knowledge, perceptions and management of the gall-forming wasp, L. invasa with an aim of developing integrated management of the pest. About 80% of the farmers interviewed were aware of the symptoms of the symptoms of L.Invasa infestation on Eucalyptus, but majority of them (88.2) % did not know the cause of the infestation. Out of those who had observed the damage 12 %( 11) knew the cause of the damage and 88 %( 82) did not. Chi-square tests were used' to determine the association between household and farm characteristics influencing awareness. Logistic regression model was used as well to predict the likelihood of a farmer being aware of the infestation. The factors found to be significantly influence awareness at 10% significant level were, expert advice on growing of eucalyptus, land tenure and number of years the have grown Eucalyptus. On the other hand factors that were found not to directly influence awareness included education level, experience, number of trees 0 farm, sex of household head and time spent on farm. The results also showed that most farmers did not attempt to control the infestation because they did not know of suitable control methods and or the cause. The decision to control was not influenced by household characteristics. Even after observing L.lnvasa infestation, nearly all (95%) farmers interviewed still wanted to plant Eucalyptus. They saw the tree as a source of several products especially, income, firewood and construction materials .