Interactions in IPM: plant, insect pest and pest control
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CTA. 1995. Interactions in IPM: plant, insect pest and pest control. Spore 60. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47185
seminar, Insect pest control for smallholders: integrating biological control and host plant resistance, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9-13 October 1995
Integrated pest management (IPM) is recogn¡zed as the most sensible approach to controlling pests on agricultural crops. But the word 'integrated' implies the need to understand the interactions between plant, pest, pest control, and the environment or agricultural setting. How can pest management be integrated effectively unless these interactions are fully understood? Two of the major disciplines that have an effect upon pest control are, by and large, pursued independently and single-mindedly; plant breeding and entomology. Plant breeding for resistance to insect pest damage is only one of the many routes to the objective of breeding better varieties for farmers. But how seriously do plant breeders consider the mode of action, and the effect, of the host plant's resistance to insect pests and their natural enemies? Entomologists approach the challenge of insect pest damage to crops by studying the life cycle of the insect pest, its predators, parasites and pathogens, and use this knowledge to reduce crop damage. But do entomologists take the specific variety of the crop they are trying to protect sufficiently into consideration? Scientists are now discovering that sometimes host plant resistance and biological control may, contrarily to expectation, interact to the disadvantage of the farmer the interaction is by no means always to his or her benefit. It was to provide a forum to discuss these ideas, within the context of smallholder farming systems in Africa, that CTA sponsored a seminar, Insect pest control for smallholders: integrating biological control and host plant resistance, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9-13 October 1995. The seminar was organized by CTA with the Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia (JAR) and the International Institute of Biological Control (IIBC). Participants included plant breeders and entomologists from 28 countries. It was an opportunity to share knowledge and to discuss how better integration between these disciplines could be achieved on a national, regional and inter-regional basis. Continually stressed was the need for scientists to take a holistic approach to controlling insect pests within the context of the sometimes very complex situations found in small-holder farming systems in Africa. A working group format to the latter part of the seminar allowed participants to discuss the issues from, firstly, a regional perspective and, secondly, from a crop perspective. Working groups were subsequently formed to discuss: 'Basic research needs for the further evaluation of biological control and host plant resistance interaction mechanisms'; 'Protocols and procedures for the practical integration of biological control and host plant resistance at the research level', and 'how to Improve farmers' perceptions of crop protection in Africa and implement the integration of biological control and host plant resistance on farm'. Conclusions and recommendations were drawn up and interested readers should write to CTA for a copy. (An article on the seminar subject will be featured in a future edition of Spore.) Participants acknowledged that African farmers are already practicing IPM. They grow their crops in a way that, to the best of their knowledge, will reduce yield losses from pests and diseases because their survival has, for centuries, depended upon their ability to do so. Plant breeders and entomologists must build upon this knowledge. Their understanding of the mechanisms involved should help farmers to avoid practices that are counter-productive, such as unwittingly discouraging natural enemies of pests, and should help them to pursue technologies that enhance the positive interaction of IPM strategies. But there is no need to wait for the longer term benefits that will surely come from better integration of research programmes. There are already technologies that are known to work and that are ready to be applied today, and participants recognized that the scientific community can no longer disregard the need for their work to be applied in all agricultural contexts.