FAO Emergency assistance for the control of Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) project - TCP/3602. “Training of 20 Government technicians and determination of PCN status in 1,200 soil samples”.

Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) is an emerging disease in Eastern Africa causing significant yield and quality loss to potato production. PCN was first detected and confirmed in Nyandarua County of Kenya in 2015. PCN comprise two species: Globodera rosotchiensis and G. pallida. They are subject to strict quarantine regulations in more than 100 countries. Continuous year-round cultivation of potatoes on PCN infested plots can cause up to 80% crop loss, equivalent to about USD 480 million annually, resulting in food and economic insecurity.  The objective of this agreement (LoA) was to improve skills of at least twenty (20) laboratory technicians in government institutions and universities and to determine the prevalence, general severity and species of PCN in 20 potato-growing counties of Kenya.

Twenty-one technicians from KEPHIS, KALRO, PPSD and universities were trained on field sampling and twenty-six technicians trained on extraction of cysts. Out of the 26 technicians, 12 were trained on morphological identification and five on molecular identification techniques. 1250 farms were visited and 1250 soil samples collected. Results from the analysis indicates PCN is prevalent in all the 20 surveyed counties and ranged from 53% (Nyeri) to 100% (West Pokot, TransNzoia and Taita Taveta). The average prevalence is 82%. Globodera rostochiensis was present all the samples and G. pallida in only one sample collected from one farm. This was the first recorded presence of G. pallida in Kenya. The results from this LoA has generally presented a wide opportunity for further studies to understand the ecology, genetic and physiological characteristics as well as development of effective management and control of PCN in Kenya

Main Collaborators

  • FAO
  • IITA

Funded by FAO. 97,000 US$ from Aug 2016 – March 2017.