Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

By Esther Ndumi Ngumbi. Reblogged from The Conversation.

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Insects are constantly adapting to methods used to control them. Shutterstock/Alf Ribeiro

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.

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Open source seeds

Sack of flax seeds
© Daryl Ehrensing/Oregon State University

“Open source software is accompanied by a licence that encourages people to share it and create new programs with it, and at the same time prevents anyone from releasing a program that uses the code under any other form of licence. The creativity embedded in the code cannot be privatised. Kloppenburg and a group of like-minded seed companies, plant breeders and academics want to apply similar licences to plant genetic resources.” Continue reading