Pest-Smart program aims to increase the awareness of farmers on alternative pest-related practices and enhance the capacity of plant doctors in dealing with pests and diseases.
Farmers and plant doctors in Ekxang Climate-Smart Village (CSV) in Laos were trained on biologically-based alternatives to agrochemcicals used in vegetable production on 24 October 2018. Three women farmers, 16 men farmers and five plant doctors from the Plant Protection Center (PPC) participated in the training that was organized as part of the Pest-Smart project. The project, funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), aims to develop pest-smart technologies and practices in CSVs. In the long run, it aims to foster communities that can address pests and diseases in a “climate-smart” manner.
Every time you see a ladybug—also known as the ladybird beetle—you should tuck it in your wallet as a lucky charm to bring prosperity, according to the folklore of many countries. There’s a grain of truth in the old stories. Research shows that each ladybird in a cotton field in the North China Plain provides an economic benefit to farmers of at least 0.05 yuan, or one U.S. cent. This may not sound like much, but consider: Doubling the current ladybird density in two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields could bring farmers around $300 million per year.
CABI has initiated activities with Koppert Biological Systems to increase the fight against crop pests and diseases which threaten the food security and livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families in Kenya.
CABI has signed a collaboration agreement with Koppert to deliver more Plantwise plant doctor training in Kenya, with funding from the Koppert Foundation. This includes plans to further raise the awareness and promotion of biocontrol methods as part of integrated pest management (IPM) advice given to farmers.
Insect pests cause almost half of the crop losses in Africa. If the continent is to feed its growing population, farmers must find ways to control them. Pests account for high losses in other developing regions too.
For smallholder farmers in particular, pest management needs to be affordable, safe and sustainable. It should avoid the drawbacks of synthetic pesticides as far as possible. Research is now showing that integrated approaches can achieve these goals.
An adult male coconut rhinoceros beetle. Emmy Engasser, Hawaiian Scarab ID, USDA APHIS ITP, Bugwood.org
10 years ago the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first discovered on the western Pacific island of Guam. Since then, these shoe-shine black, miniature invaders have spread to all parts of the island and are laying waste to the local coconut and oil palm population. The economy, culture and ecology of Guam and other Pacific islands are intrinsically linked to the native palm species such that the rhino beetle poses a major threat. The indigenous peoples of Guam have a long history of weaving palm fronds, an artistry that is now at risk due to the rhino beetle. These trees are a symbol of tropic paradise, a motif that drives Guam’s primary industry; tourism. Continue reading →
Last week, CABI confirmed that since it arrived in Africa in 2016, the Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been reported in 28 African countries, presenting a now permanent agricultural challenge for the continent. FAW mainly affects maize and can cut yields by up to 60%. In research funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), CABI estimate that, if not properly managed, the pest will cost 10 of Africa’s major maize producing economies a total of $2.2bn to $5.5bn a year in lost maize harvests.
A severe infestation of the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) nearly wiped out papaya orchards in Pakistan before the largely farmed country decided to replace conventional chemical pesticides that were ineffective with natural predators that proved to be successful.
The system was developed by agro-biotechnologists and entomologists at the Pakistani chapter of the UK-based Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) who introduced the use of Acerophagus papayae, a parasitoid (insects whose larvae parasite upon and eventually kill the host), to effectively control the mealybug infestation.