Safe and affordable pest management
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CTA. 1991. Safe and affordable pest management. Spore 34. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45562
Effective pest management and environmental safety are not easy to achieve where farm budgets are low. Participants at a Symposium in Kenya entitled 'Community-based and Environmentally Safe Pest Management' were warned that the high development and...
Effective pest management and environmental safety are not easy to achieve where farm budgets are low. Participants at a Symposium in Kenya entitled 'Community-based and Environmentally Safe Pest Management' were warned that the high development and manufacturing costs of environmentally-safe pesticides may put them beyond the reach of most developing countries. Reassuringly, they were also told of work that held out the prospect of reaching a satisfactory compromise between effectiveness and environmental safety. The purpose of the symposium, which was organized by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), was to explore the common components and the underlying concepts behind community based pest management. Eight topics were addressed by the Symposium: they were selected because of the significant contribution ICIPE has made to each of them. After reviewing the techniques available for pest management strategies the role of insect population dynamics was examined in the context of such strategies. The contributions of chemical ecology, behavioural and physiological studies were also considered. Community-based vector management strategies were reviewed, with reference to tse-tse fly, ticks, sand flies and mosquitoes. Following discussions on crop pest management participants examined the socio-economic aspects of the interface between pest management, technology and rural communities. The meeting concluded by examining pest management in relation to human safety and the role of networking in pest management and the development of human resources. Whilst many speakers' contributions inevitably tended to focus on specific pest problems in particular crops, all accepted that in reality agricultural production systems in the Tropics are highly complex. Besides cultivating a wide range of economically important plants, farmers in tropical countries must contend with an enormous diversity of pests and diseases. The research worker, who can often afford to focus his interests on a specific problem, is apt to overlook the complexity of the problems with which farmers have to cope. Nevertheless, all agreed that interventions in agricultural production processes must take into account the holistic nature of farming systems. Many developing countries are tempted to import cheap pesticides which are environmentally unacceptable in the developed world. Even those developing countries which have taken a responsible attitude towards this problem may find that their efforts are being thwarted by illegal movements of pesticides across national borders. The problem is well-known. A speaker from Kenya's National Agricultural Laboratories expressed concern that the cost of new, environmentally-safe pesticides was increasingly beyond the reach of the developing world: it seems that the temptation to resort to cheap, but environmentally harmful, solutions will remain difficult for many to resist. Professor Peter Haskell of the University of Wales, who gave the keynote address, spoke of the importance of developing pest control methodologies that made maximum use of locally-available resources. Although this is easier said than done, the contributions to the meeting served to illustrate that there is indeed an impressive range of technologies which can be developed to help manage pest problems. Many of these technologies will also help to minimize adverse effects on the environment. The resolution passed at the end of the meeting focused on the importance of the small farmer sector in the economies of African countries. They urged governments and industry to recognize this to the maximum extent possible. The Symposium also pointed out that a small increase in food production from this sector would have a great effect on the food supply situation in Africa. In consequence, participants urged ICIPE to use its resources and its network of collaborating organizations throughout Africa to develop research projects aimed at increasing the productivity of small farmers. The Symposium was a joint meeting of the 20-year-old International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology and its recently formed Alumni Association; it was held at ICIPE's new Headquarters at Duduville, Nairobi, from 6 - 9 May. The formation of an Alumni Association at such an Institute is an imaginative idea in institutional management terms, and as such has the full support of ICIPE's Director, Professor Thomas Odhiambo. The Association's objective is to stimulate programmes that will bring ICIPE friends and staff together in pursuit of common interests and to encourage scientific and training exchanges. CTA supported the attendance of six senior scientists who served as resource-persons at this meeting; they came from Europe and West and Central Africa. ICIPE and its Alumni Association hope that this will be the first of a regular series of joint meetings: the intention is to hold a second meeting within the next three years. The Proceedings of this Symposium will be published in due course; CTA will provide financial assistance towards the cost of their production. Details of availability will be announced in a future edition of Spore.