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)
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