Pest control with fewer chemicals
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CTA. 2004. Pest control with fewer chemicals. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57273
Alois Chimoga of the Cotton Research Institute in Zimbabwe on crop hygiene and correct use of pesticides.
Pest control with fewer chemicals Cue: If farmers plant the same crop on the same land each year, as many do, one very great danger is that the number of pests feeding on the crop can grow and grow. Such a build up in pest numbers makes the task of obtaining a good harvest increasingly difficult, and expensive. Because of this, many who practise Integrated Pest Management use the technique of crop rotation ? moving crops around the farm, or simply using their land for a different crop in the new season. Growing a cereal crop followed by a legume crop is one common example. Cotton plants are very susceptible to insect pests, particularly a group of pests called bollworms. To prevent the number of these insects increasing on their farms, it is essential that cotton farmers destroy all their cotton plants between cropping seasons. When buying cotton seed for planting, the seed packets should give clear information about the dates that the plants should be destroyed after the crop has been harvested. But of course, some farmers may not be aware of the importance of this information. So how to communicate this important message about cotton production? In Zimbabwe the Cotton Research Institute has been working for many years to improve cotton production in the country. Busani Bafana visited the institute to find out what is currently being done to help cotton farmers in fighting bollworm pests. IN: ?Zimbabwe is among the top five ? OUT: ? footsteps in this direction.? DUR?N 4?32? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Alois Chimoga, Principal Research Officer at the Cotton Research Institute in Kadoma, Zimbabwe. Transcript Bafana Zimbabwe is among the top five producers of hand picked medium staple cotton. The government has ensured the maintenance of this standard of cotton production through the establishment of the Cotton Research Institute in 1925. One of the challenges of growing cotton is the ability to manage pests. For example bollworm, a key pest of cotton can reduce yields by up to 60% if not controlled. We spoke to an entomologist, Mr Alois Chimoga who is the Principal Research Officer in Kadoma, Zimbabwe. How has your institute helped farmers in this regard? Chimoga Farmers have been helped to control pests by a dead period of 66 days when cotton is not allowed to grow. During the growing season farmers have been taught to do scouting, to look for the pests. If the pests are there in high numbers they only apply chemicals as a last resort. In doing scouting they are supposed to apply chemicals following the labels, very low dose when the plants are very small and when the plants are very high we apply high doses. These have helped the cotton farmers to have high quality. The scouting also helps the pests to be controlled by predators, because the period where no chemicals are applied the predators will be in big numbers controlling the pests. Bafana The IPM approach has gained respect in a number of African countries. How has it been received by farmers the Institute here has worked with? Chimoga The farmers have received us very well and they understand it very well as pest management. Such as the destruction dates, after you have picked your cotton you destroy the cotton crop, they have understood this because on every pocket of seed there are dates for the destruction period and they have taken this very well. They know when you grow cotton you need to follow guidelines. Bafana Mr Chimoga, what particular hurdles have you had to overcome to ensure that farmers understand this approach and they implement it? Chimoga Farmers had heard of using some of the chemicals which we don?t allow like pyrethroids, which are supposed to be used from January up to the end of season, and non-pyrethroids from emergence up to January. We have moved away from this hurdle by insisting that the marketing companies will produce, will supply the chemicals, give the farmers these chemicals, during the appropriate time, even the agrochemical companies. So far we have had good success with fenvalarate, one of the pyrethroids which has shown resistance in other countries from the bollworms. In Zimbabwe we don?t have any problems with fenvalarate as far as Heliothis bollworm is concerned. Bafana We would like to know what practical benefits of the Integrated Pest Management approach have you realised in the way farmers in Zimbabwe grow and harvest their cotton? Chimoga Farmers have benefited quite a lot. They use low chemicals. Zimbabwe is renowned for low chemicals compared to their South Africa our neighbours. Farmers have recouped more money from their high quality hand picked cotton as a result. So far our cotton, it is not sticky, it is liked by all the stakeholders in the cotton industry despite of it being very low in terms of the quantity. Bafana What are the future trends in the implementation of Integrated Pest Management in Zimbabwe for cotton growers? Chimoga Our future plans for cotton growers, as an institute, is to provide them with the new technology. So far we have been allowed by the Biosafety Board to experiment on GMO?s. We are making concerted efforts to look at the aspect of how pest GMO?s are going to control the red bollworm, the Heliothis bollworm that causes 60% of yield loss. In 2-3 years? time we shall be able to have a lot of footsteps in this direction. End of track