|Abstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ, 1992, 423 p.)|
|Abstracts on plant protection|
FAO Plant Prot. Bull., 38, 2, 1990, pp. 101-104
This paper aims to identify some of the major challenges that crop protection experts need to address in formulating and implementing pest management programmes, and to highlight the advantages of Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) strategies in responding to the needs of the traditional farmer in tropical Africa.
Pest management forms a vital part of the food-production process, both in the field and in farm storage. The pest problem becomes more critical in the farming environment of the resource-poor traditional farmer in tropical Africa.
In principle, the following broad programme of action is advocated for developing IPM technologies for crop protection in Africa:
- identify the major pests and quantify losses caused by them in a given agro-ecosystem;
- study the biology, behaviour and population dynamics of the pests to understand the features that may be exploited for pest management;
- establish the role of local natural enemies and develop mass- rearing, or mass-culture for disease agents on insects;
- study and develop other suitable components of IPM, such as intercropping and other cultural practices;
- integrate these components into an appropriate IPM technology and test for compatibility and efficacy under different ecological conditions; and
- develop a simple protocol for monitoring the impact of IPM technology in the field.
For example, in field trials being carried out by the African Regional Pest Management Research and Development Network (PESTNET) at Katumani, Machakos in eastern Kenya, intercropping an early maturing maize variety (Katumani composite) with cowpea (var. ICV2) under marginal rainfall conditions increased the maize yield by 4.5 times over that of maize in a monocrop. However, intercropping hybrid maize (var. H511) with beans (Mwitimania) at Murinduku, Embu in eastern Kenya, resulted in a yield increase of maize by 1.5 times under only marginal to medium rainfall conditions.
Traditional farmers have for generations applied natural plant products with pesticidal activity for pest control which have the following advantages over synthetic pesticides: the materials are obtained from local plants and are relatively safe, and include wood ash and smoke which are by-products of firewood that farmers use for cooking; other plants such as the neem tree and Tephrosia can be grown easily by the farmer; and if the products were to be processed, they would be used as substitutes for industrial pesticides in situations where chemical control is necessary.
The ultimate solution lies therefore with the farmer who has experienced the problems over generations, sometimes without knowing the cause, and who must be in the front line and a key partner in the fight against crop pests.
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Review, developing countries, biological control, pest management, biological control agents, constraints and opportunities