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Eritrea: Bio-Pesticides Trials Produce Encouraging Results

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16 AUGUST 2022

Shabait.com (Asmara)INTERVIEW

In early 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Ministry of Marine Resources (MoMR) began pilot production of biofertilizers (BF) and biopesticides (BP) to transform the country’s Agriculture into eco-friendly farming. A technical committee was, then, established to guide these processes. To shed light on this issue, the Public Relations Division has conducted a short interview with Ms. Leula Mekonen, chair of the BP sub-committee.

Let’s start with the objective of the BP sub-committee.

Ms. Leula: The BP sub-committee is part of the national technical committee which was established to promote organic fertilizers and pesticides. Its ultimate goal is to produce healthy agricultural products and ensure public and environmental safety.

Generally, the MoA is promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for sustainable crop-pest management and increased crop production. Promoting integrated pest management strategies is very crucial to addressing the problems caused by chemical pesticides. One of the IPM strategies to address the negative impact of chemical pesticides is, therefore, introducing and encouraging the use of BP in the country.

Q: How are these bio-pesticides prepared?

A: Broadly speaking, bio-pesticides are of two types; namely botanical and microbial. Botanical pesticides are naturally obtained from plant-based chemicals and are found to be effective alternatives to conventional pesticides. For instance, neem-based pesticides are one of the most important botanical pesticides widely used for agricultural pest management. Various botanical pesticides are also common in sustainable pest management practices, as they are generally safe for humans and the environment.

Q: Could you tell us about the progress of producing and piloting the BP?

A: So far, about 840 liters of neem, aloe, and chili pepper extract (botanical pesticides) have been produced; and distributed to four regions of the country for demonstration purposes in farmers’ fields. The plant materials, used as raw materials, are collected from different agro-ecological zones of the country. The collected neem leaves and seeds (from the lowland area) of Azadiracta indica are commonly practiced in many countries as effective bio-pesticides. It is important to note that a manual that includes preparation and application methods was also produced by the sub-committee. Furthermore, their shelf life and rate of application were studied at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

Q: Could you brief us on the outcome of the study?

A: The study mainly focused on doses and shelf life of organic pesticides. The result is a bit technical and detailed but generally, the freshly extracted solution showed the highest score of efficacy compared to the one-month and two-month extracts. In the case of lettuce aphid, the one-month and two-month extracts showed similar results.

Moreover, based on the study conducted, the concentration of the neem leaf extract requires more quantity to cover a large area. Hence, the committee recommended neem, aloe & chili extract be used for pests in gardens and small farms size. Accordingly, the committee agreed to focus on neem seed oil extract for mass production. Currently, neem seed is being collected in four regions. So far, 3 quintals of neem seed have been collected and a sample of 29 kilos of neem seed was extracted to produce 3.5 liters of neem oil and 25 kg of neem cake. The extract will be used as a fungicide, insecticide, and acaricide. In addition, neem oil trial on potato disease and wheat rust is underway in Zoba Maekel. Neem cake is a by-product of neem oil extract which is used as insect repellant and fertilizer. Neem cake trial for tuber moth on potato stores will be carried out soon.

Q: How do you standardize the quality of organic products?

A: Technical experts from the Regulatory Services Department (RSD) are actively engaged in the technical committees to ensure the safety and quality of BP products. They have also produced a guideline for botanical biopesticide production for commercial purposes.

Q: How do you communicate this BP with farmers?

A: We distributed neem BP in four regions namely; Maekel, Debub, Anseba, and Gash-Barka. They were applied to different vegetables and were found to be effective in insect/pest control. The overall objective of the demonstration trial in the regions was to demonstrate the use of botanical pesticides for pest control with the principle of learning by doing in their field; and assist for easy adoption in their pest management practices. Moreover, continuous farmers’ training on the production and use of biopesticides is underway. All these are done by members of the committee coming from the different zobas.

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Going the eco-friendly way to control pests

The rainy season brings a slew of problems for fruit growers, who struggle to save their crops from infestation by pests. The application of insecticides is not very effective and also poses environmental hazards, leading to a negative impact on soil health. Amid these challenging circumstances, the adoption of various eco-friendly techniques for managing pests targeting fruit crops has emerged as a viable option among farmers across Punjab.

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Going the eco-friendly way to control pests

Bagging of guava fruit

Manav Mander

FRUIT cultivation faces a constant threat from insects. Several pests cause damage to fruit production, leading to a loss of yield. Among the pests that impede quality fruit production, fruit flies Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera zonata can cause up to 100 per cent damage in the rainy season to the guava crop, 85 per cent (kinnow), 80 per cent (pear), 78 per cent (peach) and 30 per cent to mango as well as plum.

The application of insecticides is not much effective and also causes environmental hazards, leading to a negative impact on soil health. Amid this scenario, the adoption of eco-friendly techniques for managing insect-pests of fruit crops has emerged as a viable option among farmers across Punjab.

Prominent among these techniques developed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, are the fruit fly trap and the termite trap, while integrated management of snails in the citrus nursery, integrated pest management (IPM) of mango hoppers and bagging for fruit fly management in guava are also being practised.

Popular techniques for saving fruits

PAU fruit fly trap

Fruit fly trap

The PAU fruit fly trap is the most popular of these techniques. Till date, the university has sold around 52,000 PAU fruit fly traps, while 21,500 have been supplied to the fruit growers and government orchards for frontline demonstrations under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) projects, thus covering an area of 4,600 acres under fruit fly traps. This trap is being adopted by more than 90 per cent of the fruit growers of Punjab, besides being used in kitchen gardens.

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According to Dr Sandeep Singh, Senior Entomologist (Fruits) and team leader for developing these techniques, fruit growers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are purchasing PAU fruit fly traps from the university’s Department of Fruit Science.

Eco-friendly management of fruit flies can be done by fixing PAU fruit fly traps at the rate of 16 traps/acre in the second week of April, first week of May, third week of May, first week of June, first week of July and second week of August, respectively. Traps can be re-charged after 30 days, if needed, and one trap costs around Rs 100. It is best suited for the management of male fruit flies in kinnow, guava, mango, pear, peach and plum.

“In the rainy season, guava suffer maximum infestation due to the carry-over of fruit flies from other early-ripening fruit crops — peach, pear, mango, litchi, plum, grapes, loquat, jamun, sapota, pomegranate, fig, banana and papaya — and from vegetable crops, especially cucumber. The fruit fly trap is the most effective and economical way of controlling the menace,” says Gurusewak Singh, a farmer from Malerkotla.

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Termite trap

Termite trap

Termites in the fruit crop no longer bother farmers who use earthen pot-based traps. Eco-friendly management of termites can be done by burying gul (maize cobs without grains)-filled 24-holed earthen pots of 13-inch diameter with lid at the rate of 14 per acre in termite-infested orchards of pear, ber, peach, grape and amla during the first week of April and then in the first week of September. These pots should have their necks outside the soil surface. The pots should be removed from the soil after 20 days of installation and the termites collected should be destroyed by dipping in water containing a few drops of diesel.

A total of 4,578 termite traps have been supplied by PAU to the fruit growers and government orchards for frontline demonstrations under the NHM projects, covering 327 acres.

“I have been using termite traps for the past four years in my orchard. It is an eco-friendly technique as there is no pesticide residue in fruits, soil, plants and environment. The cost of fixing of earthen pots in the orchards is quite cheap (Rs 980/acre). A single pot has the capacity to trap more than 100,000 termites,” says Ravinderpal Singh.

Integrated management of snails in citrus nursery

In this technique, papaya leaves are spread in/around the nursery area to attract snails. Then, the snails are collected and put into a bucket containing salt water to kill them. Wet gunny bags are kept in the nursery area as snails try to hide under them.

IPM of mango hoppers

In this method of integrated pest management, the spray of PAU home-made neem extract and PAU home-made Dharek extract (5 litres per acre) is effective in reducing the population of hoppers in mango.

Fruit fly bagging

The mature green and hard fruits of guava should be covered with a biodegradable white-coloured non-woven bags of 9 inch x 6 inch from June-end to mid-July. For proper bagging of fruits, stapler or needle pins can be used. The bagged fruits should be harvested at the colour-break stage.

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Polyphagous menace

Fruit flies Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera zonata are polyphagous pests that damage various fruit crops and multiply profusely. The female adult fruit fly punctures the fruit at the colour-break stage and deposits its eggs below the epicarp. On hatching, the maggots feed on the soft pulp of the ripening fruits. The punctured portion start rotting and the fruit fall down prematurely. The duration of activity of the fruit flies on mango fruits is from the last week of May to the last week of July. These flies also attack peach, plum, kinnow and guava crops. Isolated orchards are less infested by fruit flies. The duo can cause up to 100 per cent damage in the rainy season to the guava crop, 85 per cent to kinnow, 80 per cent (pear), 78 per cent (peach) and 30 per cent to mango as well as plum.

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Friday, 15 April 2022 07:46:48

Grahame Jackson posted a new submission ‘Researchers investigate garlic’s hidden powers’

Submission

Researchers investigate garlic’s hidden powers

University of Queensland

Garlic has traditionally been used to ward off evil spirits, but its reputed powers do not stop it from being infected by multiple viruses.

University of Queensland plant virologist Associate Professor John Thomas said garlic was unique, as it was difficult to get virus-free garlic anywhere in the world.

“There can be up to 10 or 12 viruses in infected plants and most garlic plants would have at least six viruses,” Dr Thomas said.

“All Australian commercial garlic varieties have viruses, which doesn’t seem to affect taste or nutrition, but does have an impact on the crop’s yield.”

Understanding that suite of viruses and their impact is the problem Dr Thomas, UQ colleagues Dr Stephen Harper and Associate Professor Andrew Geering, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Dr Kathy Crew and PhD candidate Sari Nurulita, are investigating.

Ms Nurulita’s doctoral study aims to develop reliable virus detection tests and investigate why both superior and inferior garlic plants share the same viral profile.

“Garlic is a vegetatively propagated crop, and once it’s been infected, all the progeny are infected,” Dr Thomas said.

“It’s also possible for the crop to collect more viruses in the field, but not lose any plants.”

He said in previous work led by Dr Harper and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, researchers grew higher performing bulbs among virus-infected garlic crops.

“Through breeding selections over generations, Dr Harper was getting three times the yield from the best selections,” Dr Thomas said.

“However, Ms Nurulita’s work shows these elite garlic selections are still infected by the virus complement and we don’t know why that is occurring.”

Ms Nurulita also investigated the viruses concentrations using next-generation sequencing, and mapped the full genomes of the viruses.

“I did not find any significant differences in the viruses levels and was unable to determine a clear-cut difference between the two different lines of elite and poor performing garlic seed,” Ms Nurulita said.

Dr Thomas said the team had also tried tissue culture propagation to generate virus-free garlic, but without success.

“We think maybe gene silencing is happening naturally in the plant,” he said.

“It may depend on which virus gets the upper hand in a particular clove, or the order they are infected in.

“There are so many different possibilities and it’s not a simple matter.

“But we are going to look at absolute levels of virus to see whether we can determine if gene silencing is responsible.”

Photos are available via DropBox.

Image above left: Sari Nurulita with high and low yielding garlic, which share the same viruses. (C) UQ.

Media: Associate Professor John Thomas, j.thomas2@uq.edu.au, + 61 (0)400 579 449; Margaret Puls, + 61 (0)419 578 356.


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IAPPS Region X Northeast Asia Regional Center (NEARC)

Present committee members

Dr. Izuru Yamamoto, Senior Advisor

Dr. Noriharu Umetsu, Senior Advisor

Dr. Tsutomu Arie, a representative of the Phytopathological Society of Japan, the chair of Region X

Dr. Tarô Adati, a representative of Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology

Dr. Hiromitsu Moriyama, a representative of Pesticide Science Society of Japan, the secretary general of Region X

Dr. Rie Miyaura, a representative of The Weed Science Society of Japan

The Phytopathological Society of Japan and Pesticide Science Society of Japan became official partners of IYPH2020 by FAO of UN and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan and endeavored to educate the society on plant protection. https://www.maff.go.jp/j/syouan/syokubo/keneki/iyph/iyph_os.html

Annual activities related to IAPPS especially to IPM of plant diseases, insects and weeds, and plant regulation (from April 2020 to March 2021)

The Phytopathological Society of Japan (PSJ)

2020 Kanto District Meeting, Online; Sep 21–22, 2020

2020 Kansai District Meeting, Online; Sep 21–22, 2020

2020 Tohoku District Meeting, Online; Oct 12–14, 2020

2020 Hokkaido District Meeting, Online; Oct 15, 2020

2020 Kyushu District Meeting, Online; Nov 24–26, 2020

2021 Annual Meeting, Online; Mar 17–19, 2021

Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology (JSAEZ)

65th Annual Meeting, online, March 23-26, 2021

28th Annual Research Meeting of the Japan-ICIPE Association, online, March 25, 2021

Pesticide Science Society of Japan

37rd Study Group Meeting of Special Committee on Bioactivity of Pesticides, online, Sep 18, 2020

40th Symposium of Special Committee on Agricultural Formulation and Application, Yokohama, Kanagawa; Oct 15–16, 2020 (Cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19)

43th Annual Meeting of Special Committee on Pesticide Residue Analysis, online, Nov. 5–6, 2020

46th Annual meeting, Fuchu, Tokyo and Online, March 8–10, 2021

The Weed Science Society of Japan (WSSJ)

2020 Annual Meeting, The Weed Science Society of Kinki, Online; Dec 5, 2020

35th Symposium of Weed Science Society of Japan, Online; Dec 12, 2020

2020 Annual Meeting, Kanto Weed Science Society, Online; Dec 22, 2020

22th Annual Meeting, The Weed Science Society of Tohoku, Japan, Online; Feb 25, 2021

2020 Study Group Meeting of Weed Utilization and Management in Small Scale Farming, Online; Feb 26, 2021

Hono-Kai (means, Meeting who are appreciating agriculture)

35th Hono-Kai Symposium was cancelled due to the epidemic of COVID-19

Japan Biostimulants Association

rd Symposium, Online; Nov 2–30, 2020

Nodai Research Institute

2020-1 Biological Control Group Seminar, Setagaya; Tokyo; Jun 16, 2020 (Cancelled due to the epidemic of COVID-19)

2020-2 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Nov 13, 2020

2021-1 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Jun 15, 2021

2021-2 Biological Control Group Seminar, online, Nov 9, 2021

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The deadliest flower in the insect world is a lifeline to farmers—and the planet

National Geographic

The yellow center of the ‘killer chrysanthemum’ contains a natural toxin that is a powerful insecticide.This flower, the pyrethrum plant, contains a potent chemical that is made into an effective, and environmentally friendly, insecticide. PHOTOGRAPHS BY VITO FUSCO BY JACOB KUSHNER PUBLISHED AUGUST 4, 2021• 15 MIN READ

GILGIL, KENYAThe deadliest flower in the insect world is soft to the touch. Each morning in the hills above Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, the white petals of the pyrethrum plant become laden with dew. To the people who pick them, the flower is utterly harmless. But bugs beware: Its yellow center contains a natural toxin that can kill them in seconds.

Discovered in Persia around 400 B.C., the flower produces an active ingredient, pyrethrin, that can be extracted and used to create natural insecticides that farmers spray on crops to protect them from mites, ants, and aphids without harming anyone’s health. Herders rub pyrethrin ointments on their cattle to repel flies and ticks.

In its most common applications, pyrethrin paralyzes pests by attacking their central nervous systems. “If you spray an insect with pyrethrum, for the first 30 seconds it goes mental, incredibly hyperactive, then it falls to the floor,” explains Ian Shaw, managing director of the pyrethrum producer Kapi Limited.

Simply growingChrysanthemum cinerariifolium near your home may be enough to repel parasite-carrying sand flies, whose bite can spread the skin disease leishmaniasis, which affects nearly one million people globally, including many throughout Kenya. The resulting rash can eat away at people’s faces and become fatal if left untreated.

Pyrethrin has also become a powerful tool in the global fight against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, a parasite that sickens more than a million people and kills more than 400,000 each year, many of them in Kenya. Manufactured in spiral-shaped discs known as mosquito coils, they emit a shroud of smoke like incense that repels mosquitoes but is harmless to humans.

part of the pyrethrum nursery

The harvesting of the pyrethrum is done once every two weeks, strictly by hand.

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Management of Fall Armyworm: The IPM Innovation Lab Approach

https://ipmil.cired.vt.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/IPM-IL-FAW-Management.pdf.

By:

Sara Hendery

Communications Coordinator

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management

Hendery, Sara saraeh91@vt.edu

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Science News

NEWSARCHAEOLOGY

The oldest known grass beds from 200,000 years ago included insect repellents

The ancient bed remnants include fossilized grass, bug-repelling ash and aromatic leaves

South Africa’s Border Cave
South Africa’s Border Cave, shown here at its entrance, contains bits and pieces of the oldest known grass bedding, dating to around 200,000 years ago, researchers say.A. KRUGER

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By Bruce Bower

AUGUST 13, 2020 AT 2:00 PM

People living in southern Africa around 200,000 years ago not only slept on grass bedding but occasionally burned it, apparently to keep from going buggy.

Remnants of the oldest known grass bedding, discovered in South Africa’s Border Cave, lay on the ashes of previously burned bedding, say archaeologist Lyn Wadley of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and her colleagues. Ash spread beneath bound bunches of grass may have been used to repel crawling, biting insects, which cannot easily move through fine powder, the researchers report in the Aug. 14 Science. Wadley’s team also found bits of burned wood in the bedding containing fragments of camphor leaves, an aromatic plant that can be used as a bug repellent.

Prior to this new find, the oldest plant bedding — mainly consisting of sedge leaves, ash and aromatic plants likely used to keep insects away — dated to around 77,000 years ago at South Africa’s Sibudu rock-shelter.

At Border Cave, chemical and microscopic analyses of excavated sediment showed that a series of beds had been assembled from grasses, such as Guinea grass and red grass. Guinea grass currently grows at Border Cave’s entrance. Bedding past its prime was likely burned in small fire pits, the researchers suspect. Remains of fire pits were found not far from Border Cave’s former grass beds.

Grass fragments uncovered in South African cave
Preserved grass fragments uncovered in a South African cave, left, are by far the oldest known examples of grass bedding, researchers say. Close-up images of those fragments taken by a scanning electron microscope, such as the one shown at right, helped to narrow down what type of grasses were used for bedding.L. WADLEY

Humans in southern Africa intentionally lit fires by around 1 million years ago (SN: 4/2/12). But Border Cave provides the first evidence that ancient grass bedding was burned on purpose.

Small, sharpened stones were also found among grass and ash remains, suggesting that people occasionally sat on cave bedding while making stone tools.

Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at feedback@sciencenews.org

CITATIONS

L. Wadley et al. Fire and grass-bedding construction 200 thousand years ago at Border Cave, South Africa. Science. Vol. 369, August 14, 2020, p. 863. doi: 10.1126/science.abc7239.

Bruce Bower

About Bruce Bower

Bruce Bower has written about the behavioral sciences for Science News since 1984. He writes about psychology, anthropology, archaeolo

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Ghana News Agency

http://www.ghananewsagency.org/science/ghana-to-focus-on-bio-rational-products-for-management-of-faw-131321

fall-armyworm-frontal-MER-563x744

Ghana to focus on bio-rational products for management of FAW

By Belinda Ayamgha, GNA

Accra, April 13, GNA – The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it has shifted its focus from synthetic insecticides to bio-rational products, for the management of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) infestation, as part of its short, medium and long-term management measures.

The focus on bio-rational products is to ensure minimum pest resistance by the FAW, which is higher with the use of synthetic insecticides.

Dr Mrs Felicia Ansah, Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services at MoFA, said this when she briefed Journalists on the current situation of the FAW problem.

She noted that the FAW had come to stay, as it could not be completely eradicated but managed, as in the case of Brazil, which had been managing the FAW infestation for the past 40 years, and was currently one of the biggest exporters of maize.

Ghana had thus modelled its management measures after the Brazilian experience.

These measures, she said, include the deployment of pheromone trap catches in various locations across the country to ascertain the levels of infestation, training of MoFA staff and farmers on scouting, early detection and sustainable management of the pest in the event of an outbreak.

She explained that the best way to manage the infestation on farms was to detect the pests early at the larvae stage, and not when they became full grown moths. That is when they did the most damage to crops.

Other measures being undertaken by the Ministry are the distribution of pesticides to all district offices in the country where farmers can access in FAW infestations, the formation and training of Nnoboa Spraying Teams in farming communities and intensification of public awareness creation for farmers and the general public.

According to Dr Ansah, Ghana had commenced scouting of natural enemies of the FAW, which once identified, will be reared to help reduce the population of the pests.

“In the long term, only biological control agents, microbial insecticides and botanicals/organic products will be used to manage FAW in Ghana,” she said.

She said a total of 249,054 hectares of maize were affected and sprayed, out of which 234,807 hectares recovered and 14, 247 totally destroyed in the previous season, adding that there was a likelihood for more infestations in the 2018 farming season.

Dr Ansah stressed the need for the media to be circumspect in how they reported issues around the FAW infestation as it had implications for trade.

She urged the media to collaborate with the Ministry to educate farmers on how to manage the FAW.

She said the pockets of FAW infestations being currently experienced in some districts in the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and Western Regions had been blown out of proportion as it was a pre-season production infestation.

“We would like you to appreciate that this is a Phytosanitary or Public Plant Health Issue, with trade implications and must be communicated in a professional manner. Media coverage should rather be geared towards improving the knowledge and skills of our farmers,” she said.

GNA

 

 

 

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Please Join Us October 18th for a

WEBINAR: Neem-based Pesticides in IPM

Please click the above link for more information regarding this webinar.

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