Integrated Pest Mangement
Thursday, 21 January 2010 12:39
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management which takes all aspects of crop production, life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment into consideration. This often includes the effective combination of traditional knowledge and methods with new technologies.

Integrated Pest Management in a Sustainable Production System for Brassica Crops in Fiji and Samoa

The project is a collaboration between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC),the University of Queensland, Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF)- Nu’u crops division, Apia SAMOA and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), Department of Agriculture- FIJI.

Background

Brassica crops, especially “English” and Chinese cabbages are important commodities for both large and small farmers in the Pacific Island Countries. The production of these crops has increased dramatically in Fiji and Samoa and Chinese cabbage will soon become the major source of green leaf vegetable in both sectors. The prevailing practices to combat the endemic insect pest complex, the main constraint to the industry, are causing serious economic and environmental problems. The pest complex varies between islands but the diamond back moth (DBM) is ubiquitous and is the key regional pest of Brassica crops. Significant efforts to establish biological control of DBM, by a variety of agencies, have been thwarted by inadequate extension programs, prescriptive IPM packages and a lack of understanding of the specific pest- natural enemy complexes. As a result there is continued excessive use of broad –spectrum insecticides and an inappropriate environment for the establishment of biological control agents. Current control measures rely exclusively on prophylactic insecticide application, there is significant environmental contamination and crops frequently fail. Both the small holder and commercial sectors are unacquainted with the concepts and benefits of integrated pest management (IPM).

Approach
The project has adopted a collaborative participatory approach to research and extension to facilitate the adoption and uptake of effective IPM strategies and develop sustainable agricultural management systems for Brassica crops in Fiji and Samoa. Appropriate training and establishment of farmer field schools will provide a feedback mechanism which will identify the constraints to the adoption of project outputs ensuring the relevance of research and extension activities. One of the project output requires the introduction of a farmer field school approach which will be particularly effective in this regard; it will represent the major adoption pathways for the adoption and uptake of project outputs and lead to increased farmer empowerment.
45 extension staffs from the Ministry of Agriculture from all over the country, 2 entomology trainees from Solomon Islands involved with the ACIAR project and over 150 farmers attended the workshop in September 2006.




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