Homemade botanical remedies: can they really work for pest control?

By Rebecca Quarterman

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A recent study by CABI scientists looked at 12 botanicals

For many low-income farmers, commercial pesticides are too costly to use. Seemingly, the next best option for many is to turn to homemade botanical insecticides using local sources. But how reliable are these resources, and are they safe to recommend?

A CABI-authored paper published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development reviews the efficacy of some of the most commonly used homemade botanicals in controlling insect pests. This paper specifically focuses on previous studies that tested homemade preparations under “realistic local field or storage conditions”, as there has been no previous in-depth review on this particular topic.

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CABI collaborates on new research which suggests crop pests more widespread than previously known

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Insects and diseases that damage crops are probably present in many places thought to be free of them, new research shows.

Pests that have not been reported in a certain area are usually assumed to be absent, but analysis by the University of Exeter shows many pests are “currently unobserved, but probably present” (a likelihood of more than 75%).

The study identified large numbers of pests in this category in China, India, southern Brazil and some countries of the former USSR.

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World Food Prize winner’s vision sown in CABI-led Plantwise programme in Myanmar

Phathril Akradejvichit
World Food Prize Laureate for 2019 Simon N. Groot, founder of East-West Seed, helped train CABI Plantwise plant doctors in Myanmar so farmers can grow more and lose less to pests and diseases (Photo: World Food Prize).

Simon N. Groot, the Dutch founder of East-West Seed, has won the World Food Prize 2019 for empowering millions of smallholder farmers in more than 60 countries earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production.

This includes his company – under the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT) – working with the CABI-led Plantwise programme to train Myanmar’s first group of plant doctors who are helping farmers reduce their losses by diagnosing problems with their crops. East-West Seed also provided their expertise to CABI through a number of external factsheets provided for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

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Five invasive pests cost African economy $1 billion every year

Five invasive pests cost African economy $1 billion every year
New research by CABI reveals that just five invasive alien species are causing US$0.9 – 1.1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers across six eastern African countries each year, equating to 1.8% – 2.2% of total agricultural GDP for the region. These losses are expected to grow to $1.0 – 1.2 billion per year over the next 5-10 years, highlighting the urgent need for coordinated responses at regional, national and international levels.

New research published in the open-access journal Global Food Security estimates the alarming level of economic losses suffered by smallholder farmers each year in eastern Africa, to a handful of species that have become damaging crop pests since their introduction to the region. These few invasive species can have devastating impacts on important staples such as maize, but also high-value crops including tomatoes, peas and green beans.

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How The Gates Foundation and Carlos Slim are Supporting Innovation and Crop Improvement For Farmers

Carlos Slim, Bill Gates and Mexican Dignitaries visit CIMMYT to inaugurate the new Bioscience facilities © Eruviel Avila (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Carlos Slim, Bill Gates and Mexican Dignitaries visit CIMMYT to inaugurate the new Bioscience facilities © Eruviel Avila (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Fundación Carlos Slim have announced a partnership in support of efforts by the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center CIMMYT) in Mexico to develop and disseminate higher-yielding, more resilient wheat and maize varieties. Continue reading

Get more scientific and international development news on CABI’s Facebook page!

Facebook logoCABI has just launched its Facebook page. In addition to posts from Plantwise, there will be news and articles from the other arms of CABI including Global Health, Environmental Impact, Animal Science, Forest Science, and newly published books and journals. There will also be updates from the work that CABI is doing in countries all over the world from Barbados to Bangladesh.

Take a look at the page: http://www.facebook.com/CABI.development – there’s even a timeline where you can find out about the origins of CABI.

If you are interested in invasive species, international development or climate change, we highly recommend that you ‘like’ the CABI Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest research and activities in the field.