Relating crop damage levels on farm to crop varietal diversity measured by richness, evenness and diversity for banana in Ecuador
June 7th, 2012
By the collaborating team comprising; Danilo Vera & Diego Vaca, Miriam Cabanilla, Juan Agama, Carmen Suárez-Capello
In Ecuador, plantain is the basic component for family nutrition. Musa cultivars are part of any farming system in the lower areas of the country, the Coast and the Amazon. Total plantain exports occupy the eighth place in the export chain.
Two sites for plantain; El Carmen and La Mana, were studied. This was done through focus group discussions (5 groups per site), key informant interviews and household surveys. The amount and frequency of cultivars in farmers fields was assessed. Richness and evennes was calculated for locations sampled within the study sites. In the household surveys, data on three constraints was collected. These were: Black Sigatoka as number of functional leaves, black weevils as number of galleries and nematode damage as number of plants that are toppled on the ground.
Low evenness was observed in areas with single crop. Independent of variations between the sites, the effect of diversity (as number of cultivars or richness and their distribution as eveness) seems to have impact on pests and diseases severity. This opens the possibility of including varietal diversity in the broader Integrated Pests Management strategy and opens hope for improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.