Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab Publishes Booklet Gathering Packages for Tropical Crops
The post was written by Sara Hendery, communications consultant for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovation Lab.
The IPM Innovation Lab has developed a booklet of IPM Packages for Tropical Crops.
The IPM Innovation Lab established the concept of the IPM package in 2009 to improve farmer access to economical, environmentally friendly approaches to pest management. IPM packages outline insect pests, diseases and other threats to crops, and propose techniques that can be used to combat those threats.
IPM packages, however, are seldom applied in full — they offer farmers a host of technologies to choose from based on access to resources and the specific pest complexes that threaten their crops. The range of techniques address plant threats from the time of planting to the time of harvesting.
“Farmers who have applied IPM packages have experienced increased yields, enhanced income and reduced reliance on chemical pesticides — which can often be costly for smallholders,” said Muni Muniappan, director of the IPM Innovation Lab. “We wanted to offer crop solutions to farmers who perhaps have inconsistent access to resources, but depend on the growth of their crops to feed their families and communities. There are many simple, cost-effective ways farmers can grow healthier, more abundant crops.”
The recently published booklet covers a range of crops grown in the tropical world, including eggplants, onions, crucifers, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, maize, pearl millet, rice, chickpeas, beans, lentils and longans.
The IPM package for rice, for example, offers a number of solutions to rice threats, such as:
- Treat seeds with Trichoderma/Pseudomonas to protect crop from soilborne diseases.
- Set up plastic sheet barrier strips and traps around the field for rodent control.
- Introduce a no-spray period for the first 40 days after sowing or transplanting.
“It’s important to recognize that applying new practices is a risk for some farmers,” said Malick Ba, principal scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Niger and one of the booklet’s contributing authors. “This riskiness is why the IPM package is approachable. You can choose to apply just one technology at a time so that it doesn’t feel like too much is put to chance.”
Ba helped develop the IPM package for pearl millet, a staple food crop in Niger. After the destructive pearl millet head miner began attacking the crop throughout the country, release of the natural enemy, Habrobracon hebetor — one of the IPM package techniques — helped increase pearl millet yields by 34%.
“When farmers don’t release the natural enemies, they are left with no control means,” said Ba.
The IPM Packages for Tropical Crops booklet can be shared with farmers, extension personnel, universities, researchers and others working in agriculture-related spaces. For further information or assistance, please contact Sara Hendery at [email protected].
The IPM Innovation Lab is housed at Virginia Tech’s Center for International Research, Education and Development.