Farmers’ ethno-ecological knowledge of vegetable pests and pesticidal plant use in Malawi and Zambia

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Nyirenda, Stephen P. ; Sileshi, Gudeta W. ; Belmain, Steven R. ; Kamanula, John F. ; Mvumi, Brighton M. ; Sola, Phosiso ; Nyirenda, Greenwell K.C. ; Stevenson, Philip C. (2011)
  • Publisher: Academic Journal
  • Subject: S1 | SB
    mesheuropmc: food and beverages | fungi | immune system diseases

While pests are a major constraint in vegetable production in many parts of Southern Africa, little is known about farmers’ knowledge and management practices. A survey was conducted among 168 and 91 vegetable farmers in Northern Malawi and Eastern Zambia, respectively, to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes and traditional management practices in tomato and crucifers (brassica). All respondents in Malawi and Zambia reported pest damage on tomato and crucifers, and 75% had used synthetic pesticides. The use of pesticidal plants, cultural practices and resistant varieties constituted a smaller portion of the pest control options in both crucifers and tomato. Over 70% of the respondents were aware of pesticidal plants, and more female (75%) than male (55%) respondents reported using them. While over 20 different plant species were mentioned by respondents, Tephrosia vogelii accounted for 61 and 53% of the pesticidal species known to respondents in Malawi and Zambia, respectively. Farmers with small landholdings were more inclined to use pesticidal plants than those with medium and large landholding highlighting the importance of this management alternative for poor farmers. Most respondents were willing to cultivate pesticidal plants, which indicate that farmers understand the potential value of these plants in pest management.
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