Protecting plants and killing pests
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CTA. 2004. Protecting plants and killing pests. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57293
Joseph Mambu of the Cotton Development Corporation in Cameroon with advice on effective pesticide use and other pest control activities.
Protecting plants and killing pests Cue: In recent years, a farming method called Integrated Pest Management has become increasingly popular with farmers in Africa, particularly those growing vegetable crops. But what does Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, actually mean? As its name implies, IPM involves combining, or integrating, many different farming practices in order to find a solution to a difficult problem, that of controlling pests. These methods may include the use of chemical pesticides, but in using such chemicals an IPM farmer will firstly make a careful assessment of the type and number of pests attacking the crop, so that pesticides can be applied in an appropriate way. This both reduces the cost for the farmer, since less pesticide is wasted, and also causes less damage to the environment. For example, helpful insects, known as pest predators, are less likely to be affected. Mr Joseph Mambu is an agricultural researcher who has worked for the Cotton Development Corporation in Cameroon for many years, particularly in the north of the country. Martha Chindong spoke to him about the danger of pests for cotton production, and how his organisation is helping farmers in the north of Cameroon to tackle the problem. IN: ?(Vernac) After beans, in this area ? OUT: ? to destroy the cotton plants.? DUR?N 4?16? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mr Joseph Mambu of the Cotton Development Corporation in Cameroon, with some advice for how farmers can reduce pest attacks on their cotton plants. Transcript Mambu (Vernac) After beans, in this area cotton is the next crop mostly attacked by pests and if not treated we will loose more than 80% of the produce. Chindong What are the main pests of cotton? Mambu (Vernac) The most dangerous cotton pests are caterpillars as well as some bacterial infection. Chindong This means that a lot of pesticides are needed in growing cotton. Am I right? Mambu (Vernac) This entails the use of much pesticide to grow cotton. Chindong Can the pesticides be used in a sustainable way, so as not to affect the farmer and his environment? Mambu (Vernac) We advise farmers to always protect themselves before and during the use of these chemicals. That is to put on eyeglasses, nose masks and they should also clean themselves after the use of these chemicals. We used to apply the chemicals quickly, at random, without any tests. To reduce costs and waste of chemicals, as well as the harm done to the environment, we later carried out tests to know the level of pest attack and whether or not to treat the farm. If, for example, we find 20 insects within the population of 100 cotton plants, the farm is declared infested and we treat these farms twice a month. Chindong Considering that you reduced the treatment from 4 times a month to only 2 times, were the results still encouraging? Mambu (Vernac) With this approach the results were encouraging. Chindong Is there a possibility to use Integrated Pest Management in growing cotton? Mambu (Vernac) Of course Integrated Pest Management can be used in growing cotton. First the use of resistant varieties is recommended, but we do give farmers treated seeds in order to produce quality cotton for the market. This is because the resistant varieties may give good yield but not necessarily quality cotton. We also advise that the farmers respect the planting season, for early planting can avoid certain treatments carried out with chemicals. And also early harvesting will reduce the number of times to treat the farm. Because if harvesting is delayed there is an insect that usually attacks the cotton fibre as soon as the cotton bud opens. And this also will entail that after this harvest we will have to treat the cotton again before use. If this happens the farmer will have to carry out the supplementary treatment that will bring extra costs and waste of chemicals. So farmers should then follow the advice of the agriculture technicians placed at their disposal. Chindong Is there any other thing that you would have loved us to share on this topic? Mambu (Vernac) Cotton farmers in the north have succeeded to produce an insecticide from a mixture of soap and kerosene. This effectively killed insects that attack the cotton, but the product is short lived, for should it rain this product would be washed away. Cotton as we know is a mono-cultivated crop, that is it can only be cultivated on its own without associating other plants. However, we can try to associate another plant to the cotton, like the pepper, whose repulsive affects on insects are well known, and this can also help to repel the pest that will come to destroy the cotton plants. End of track