Knowledge for Development

Relevant publications

Robust cropping systems to tackle pests under climate change. A review

This article reviews the effects of climate change on crop protection and strategies to reduce the impact of future invasive crop pests as well as those of rapidly evolving resident populations. The authors make the following points: (i) the consequence of climate change and globalization is a heightened level of unpredictability of interactions between weather, cropping systems and pests; (ii) the unpredictable adaptation of pests to a changing environment creates uncertainty and projected changes do not automatically translate into doom and gloom scenarios; (iii) faced with uncertainty, policy, research, and extension should prepare for worst-case scenarios following a ‘no regrets’ approach that promotes resilience vis-à-vis pests; (iv) farmers can take advantage of Web 2.0 and other new technologies to make the exchange of updated information quicker and easier; and (v) cooperation between historically compartmentalized experts in plant health and crop protection could help develop anticipation strategies. (Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 31/12/2014)Download the article


The use of indigenous ecological resources for pest control in Africa

Existing crop protection that relies on agrochemical pesticides has had only a marginal impact on the productivity of poor smallholder farmers, many of whom cannot afford or obtain these imported chemicals. An alternative solution is to harness biological resources that are locally available, such as endemic insect natural enemies and indigenous pesticidal plant materials. This article describes two examples of the use local resources – a pesticidal plant, Tephrosia vogelii, and the harvesting of the endemic insect baculovirus, Spodoptera exempta nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpexNPV)both of which can be produced locally and have shown promise in trials as inexpensive and effective tools for pest control in Africa and their use is currently being scaled up and evaluated by African networks of researchers. While both of these examples show promise, there are also significant challenges to be overcome in developing production, supply and marketing systems that are economically viable and sustainable. The regulatory environment must also evolve to accommodate and facilitate the registration of new products and the establishment of appropriate supply chains that share the benefits of these resources equitably with the local communities from which they are harvested.  (Food Security, 26/11/2014)Download this article.


Quality management of laboratories: accreditation and certification

A quality management system for analytical or testing laboratories including microbiological and radiological laboratories that carry out tests to establish the essential characteristics, the safety and the wholesomeness of food and the essential is presented. The handbook discusses a framework of processes and procedures to ensure that a laboratory will always be capable of producing quality test results. The handbook is based on EU legislation for laboratories and meant for organisations in developing country wishing to export to the EU. It was produced by EDES, a COLEACP programme.   (EDES, 02/10/2014)


Extension improves IPM adoption by using cheaper, less intensive interpersonal communication methods

This study evaluates the current IPM (integrated pest management) dissemination program implemented by the Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension and uses a linear programming model to examine alternative strategies to improve IPM adoption. Results suggest that technology transfer programs may increase their impact by reallocating funding from intensive but costly interpersonal communication methods (such as farmer field schools) to less intensive methods (such as mass media and field days) that reach broader audiences.     (Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 01/11/2013)


Socioeconomic considerations in biosafety decision making

This IFPRI Research Monographs helps professionals in assessing the ex ante impact of a GM crop in the context of an approval process. Using the case of GM cotton in Uganda, the authors illustrate the evaluation of socio-economic impact on farmers, the national economy, and trade. The authors identify three crucial steps in making socioeconomic assessment part of a biosafety regulatory process, decision making process, or both. First, select appropriate research tools and methods that yield robust results but that also take into account time and budget constraints. Second, evaluate the institutional setting of GM technology deployment. Third, allow for the uncertainties inherent in the assessment by using ranges of values for the parameters under evaluation, including yield, technology efficiency, and prices.  (IFPRI, 23/09/2013)


Foresight prompts researchers in pest management to look beyond research

The European Network for the Durable Exploitation of Crop Protection Strategies (ENDURE) submitted this brief for the Foresight Breakout Session of GCARD2012. It is based on a foresight study that provided crop protection stakeholders with the tools to proactively respond to new EU legislation on pesticides. The study posed questions on how to reconcile health and environmental concerns with export-oriented agriculture, food production for food self-sufficiency, energy-saving farming, or multi-functional agriculture. It shows that many of the driving forces impacting crop protection are outside and beyond the sphere of influence of the crop protection world itself. These regard macro-economic choices affecting the role of European agriculture on the world market or the place that Europe wishes to give to local development.   (ENDURE, 14/12/2012) 


New genes in traditional seed systems: diffusion, detectability and persistence of transgenes in a maize metapopulation

Gene flow of transgenes into non-target populations is an important biosafety concern. The case of genetically modified (GM) maize in Mexico has been of particular interest because of the country’s status as centre of origin and landrace diversity. In contrast to maize in the U.S. and Europe, Mexican landraces form part of an evolving metapopulation in which new genes are subject to evolutionary processes of drift, gene flow and selection. There has been little study into the population genetics of transgenes under traditional seed management. Here, recently compiled data on seed management practices are combine with a spatially explicit population genetic model to evaluate the importance of seed flow as a determinant of the long-term fate of transgenes in traditional seed systems. Our results have important implications concerning the feasibility of long term transgene monitoring and control in traditional seed systems.(Bioversity International, 2012)


International standards for phytosanitary measures – Integrated measures for plants for planting

This standard produced by the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) outlines the main criteria for the identification and application of integrated measures at the place of production for the production of plants for planting (excluding seeds) for international trade. It provides guidance to help identify and manage pest risks associated with plants for planting as a pathway. Plants for planting are generally considered to pose a higher pest risk than other regulated articles. Integrated measures may be used to manage the pest risks that plants for planting pose as a pathway for regulated pests and to ensure they meet phytosanitary import requirements. The use of integrated measures involves national plant protection organisations (NPPOs) as well as producers, and relies on pest risk management measures applied throughout the production and distribution processes. (IPPC, 3/2012)


Does sanitary and phytosanitary regulation stringency affect developing countries exports? Evidence from Chilean fruit exports

Increasing awareness of food safety issues has brought a boost in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations and standards. Although is likely that these regulations have increased health and welfare in the countries that impose them, they may also have an important effect in exporting countries, affecting especially small producers in developing countries. Other papers have found that individual quantitative measures of regulatory stringency have an impact on trade, but none has looked into broader SPS regulation stringency indicators. Through a survey that asked Chilean fresh fruit exporters to evaluate the stringency for 16 countries and four fresh fruits, the authors of the study created an index that incorporates several aspects of SPS regulation. The estimations suggest that, on average, quality standards and packaging and labelling issues are considered the most stringent. The authors also estimate a gravity model and find that SPS regulatory stringency, measured by this broad index, has negative and significant effect on traded volume. (AgEcon, 06/2012)


Study highlights food risk hotspots

The poorest societies may be more able to adapt to the threat climate change poses to food supplies than their slightly richer peers, a new study suggests. We might assume getting richer would always make a country safer from drought and famine, but that turns out not to be the case. Instead, the very poorest countries seem to become more vulnerable in the early stages of a transition to modern agriculture. There's a crucial period before the benefits of modernisation start to kick in, during which they are more vulnerable to problems like drought than when they started. For example, switching from pastoral farming to settled agriculture can bring benefits to local people in the long-term, once they can introduce new techniques like higher-yielding, drought-resistant crops and modern machinery. But these need investment to work, and it takes time for poor farmers to build up the necessary capital. In the meantime, most land has been parcelled up into private plots and is now crisscrossed by fences, so people can no longer respond to drought as their pastoralist ancestors would have - by simply moving their herds somewhere with more water. (NERC Planet Earth Online, 1/6/2012)