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close this bookImproved Insect Pest Management for Maize, Sorghum and Cowpea Production in Coastal Kenya - Technology Handbook for Extensionists (KARI - ICIPE, 1996, 24 p.)
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View the documentCrop Losses Caused by Insect Pests and Current Intervention Practices
Open this folder and view contentsSustainable and Improved Methods for Reducing Production Losses Caused by Pests
View the documentScope for Integrating Improved Pest Management Methods into Crop Production Practices

Crop Losses Caused by Insect Pests and Current Intervention Practices


In coastal Kenya, the warm humid climate favours the breeding and damaging activities of several insect pests. Farmers, therefore, experience hardships in crop production due to the severity of insect pest infestations. Resource-poor farmers suffer substantial crop yield losses (10-30%) as they cannot afford to invest in insecticides. The yield losses lead to scarcity of food grains in the region and reduced farmers' income.

A few farmers use pesticides. However, alternative methods that are cheap and safe need to be developed for the majority of the farmers in the region. Use of chemicals has a negative effect on the environment as they destroy beneficial insects, while insect pests develop resistance to the pesticides used.

Diagnostic surveys carried out in Kwale and Kilifi Districts in 1992 showed that the majority of farmers were aware of the losses caused by insect pests in their food crops, especially maize and cowpea. On-farm test plots of maize during the same year showed that the average yield loss due to stemborers in three ecozones (L3, L4, L5) ranged between 17-23% in Kwale and 10-17% in Kilifi District. However, few farmers used available technologies to control stemborers. The major reasons for not adopting pest control technologies were the high cost of inputs, lack of credit facilities and untimely of the inputs. The surveys show that the farmers need affordable and environment- friendly pest control methods.

The Kwale and Kilifi Adaptive Research Project (KKARP), was implemented during 1992-94 jointly by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Marketing (MOALDM). It was funded by UNDP and the Government of Kenya (GOK). The objective of KKARP was to develop and demonstrate sustainable options for reducing the yield losses due to insect pests.

This bulletin describes some of the improved pest management methods tested under KKARP, and their potential for integration and adoption as crop production practices by farmers in Kwale and Kilifi Districts.