Climate change is expected to make insect pests hungrier, which could encourage farmers to use more pesticides.
Ever since humans learned to wrest food from soil, creatures like the corn earworm, the grain weevil and the bean fly have dined on our agricultural bounty. Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Smallholder farmers provide the vast majority of the world’s food supply, and ‘small-scale farming’ is the largest occupation group of economically active people, 43% of which are women.
Approximately 2 billion of the world’s poorest live in households that depend on agriculture in some form for their livelihoods, whether this is for market or subsistence. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that growth in agriculture in developing countries is on average almost 3 times more effective in reducing poverty (relative to non-agriculture GDP growth).
Many farmers who grow soybean and corn also integrate crop rotation strategies to avoid the continuous corn yield cost, but scientists from the US have given a new reason to use crop rotation. Evidence suggests that rotating crops increases yield and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to monoculture corn or soybean.
Published in the journal Nature earlier this month, the study shows how the peptide CLE25 is synthesised in the roots of plants when under stress due to a lack of water in the soil, resulting in the closing of pores (stomata) in the leaf surfaces.
The Pest Smart program aims to enable farmers, particularly women and marginalized groups, to become resilient against potential pests and diseases outbreaks due to climate change.
The Pest Smart program promotes the adoption of climate-smart practices that manage pests and diseases, and empowers women to be actively involved in the decision-making process. It also serves as a platform to build the capacity and encourage participation of women farmers in dealing with pests and diseases (P&D).
In Rohal Suong Climate-Smart Village, adoption of ecological engineering practices has improved farmers’ ability to prevent pests and diseases outbreaks while reducing pesticides use.
Every year, a great portion of Cambodian farmers’ income is at risk because of possible pests and diseases (P&D) outbreak. Aside from the inadequate knowledge of farmers, climate change aggravates the problem on managing P&D.
Uganda is the world’s second largest producer of banana crop, with individuals consuming around 1.5 pounds of banana every day. Due to this major need for the success of banana crops within the country, plant pests and diseases are ever more threatening.