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Walmart introduces restoring pollinator habitat program

Imagine mornings without orange juice or summer picnics without strawberries. Such a future is possible if we don’t take collective action to begin restoring pollinator habitats worldwide.

It’s estimated one of every three bites of food we eat is possible because of animal pollinators. Yet studies show vital pollinator populations have been declining over the last 30 years due to loss of habitat, pests, pollution, pesticides and a changing climate.

To help improve pollinator health and biodiversity in the regions in which we operate, Walmart U.S. is announcing new pollinator commitments that will further our efforts to help reverse nature loss and ultimately bring us closer to meeting new nature commitments made by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.

These commitments aim to reduce several pollinator threats through promoting integrated pest management (IPM) practices and improving and expanding pollinator habitats.

One contributor to pollinator decline is the use of pesticides. Pollinator exposure to pesticides can be reduced by minimizing the use of pesticides, incorporating alternative forms of pest control and adopting a range of specific application practices through an Integrated Pest Management system. Therefore, Walmart U.S. is committing to source 100 percent of the fresh produce and floral we sell from suppliers that adopt IPM practices, as verified by a third-party, by 2025.

We also encourage fresh produce suppliers to phase out chlorpyrifos and nitroguanidine neonicotinoids pesticides (where applicable unless mandated otherwise by law), avoid replacing them with other products with a level I bee precaution rating and assess and report annual progress.

Pollinators are fundamental for around 80 percent of all flowering plants and more than three-quarters of the food crops that feed us. Walmart U.S. will encourage fresh produce suppliers to protect, restore or establish pollinator habitats by 2025 on at least 3 percent of land they own, operate and/or invest in and report annual progress. We will also continue to avoid selling invasive plant species in our retail stores (based on recognized regional lists). And we will work with local organizations to protect, restore or establish pollinator habitats in major pollinator migration corridors.

We have also partnered with solar developers to establish pollinator habitats around solar panel arrays. We will continue looking for opportunities to establish more pollinator habitats where feasible.

Finally, the Walmart Foundation recently granted funding to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to leverage citizen science data to monitor pollinators more cost-effectively, unlocking opportunities to improve conservation planning, farm practices and landscape management in the United States.

To help educate our customers about pollinator plants, Walmart U.S. encourages suppliers to label pollinator-friendly plants as attractive to pollinators in retail locations. Plants that attract pollinators will feature special tags to help customers grow pollinator gardens. In total, more than 1.3 million annual and perennial pollinator-promoting plants will carry tags in Walmart stores this spring.

For more information:
Gabby Ach
Walmart
GAch@golin.com 
www.walmart.com 

Publication date: Thu 15 Apr 2021

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Fall armyworm ‘worsens hunger among smallholders’

maize farm

Maize farmer inspecting her crops. Copyright: Axel Fassio/CIFORCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Speed read

  • Fall armyworm destroys maize worth almost US$5 billion annually in 12 African countries
  • In a Zimbabwe study, the pest increased likelihood of hunger by 12 per cent
  • Farmers need cost-effective, environmentally sustainable control measures, experts say
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By: Onyango Nyamol

[NAIROBI] The invasive crop pest fall armyworm is well known for its devastating effects on maize yields in Africa, but few studies have been done on its broader impact on poverty levels and food security.

Now a study in Zimbabwe has found that smallholder maize-growing households blighted by fall armyworm are more likely to experience hunger and could see their income almost halved in severe cases, highlighting the urgency of strategies to tackle the pest.

“Our study suggests that the outbreak is threatening food security and negatively affecting farmers’ livelihoods, hence urgent actions are needed.”

Justice Tambo, CABI

According to the study, estimates from 12 maize‐producing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa including Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe indicate that without control measures, the pest could cause maize losses of up to 17.7 million tonnes, translating into revenue loss of up to almost US$5 billion a year.

But researchers say that the negative impacts of the pest are far more than yield losses, with the potential to significantly impact food security and livelihoods.

The study, published in Food and Energy Security last month (15 March), shows that households affected by fall armyworm were 11 per cent more likely to experience food shortages, while their members had a 13 per cent higher likelihood of going to bed hungry or a whole day without eating. It also found that found that severe levels of infestation reduced per capita household income by 44 per cent.

“Our study suggests that the outbreak is threatening food security and negatively affecting farmers’ livelihoods, hence urgent actions are needed to address the menace posed by fall armyworm,” says Justice Tambo, the study’s lead author and a socio-economist at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI, the parent organisation of SciDev.Net).

According to the study, fall armyworm was first reported in Zimbabwe during the 2016 and 2017 cropping season, and has continued to spread in subsequent seasons.

Researchers used survey data from 350 smallholder maize-growing households in six of Zimbabwe’s main maize production provinces. Data was collected in September 2018 by CABI in collaboration with Zimbabwe Plant Quarantine and Plant Protection Research Services Institute.

“We decided to conduct this study to provide evidence [of] how the fall armyworm outbreak is affecting farmers’ livelihoods beyond reductions in maize yields,” Tambo says. “While fall armyworm cannot be eradicated, taking actions to at least prevent severe level of infestation can significantly reduce welfare losses in terms of income and food security.”

Boddupalli Prasanna, director of the global maize programme at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, tells SciDev.Net that fall armyworm is a serious concern to resource-constrained smallholders who have multiple challenges to tackle.

“We certainly need to provide effective, scalable and affordable technologies to the farming communities to combat the pest in a sustainable manner. Farmers cannot afford to rely on expensive chemical pesticides to and control fall armyworm,” says Prasanna, who was not involved in the study.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1257893/8247114-in-africa-music-is-life-and-health?client_source=small_player&iframe=true&referrer=https://www.buzzsprout.com/1257893/8247114-in-africa-music-is-life-and-health.js?container_id=buzzsprout-player-8247114&player=small
Prasanna adds that there is no single specific technology that can provide sustainable control of a pest like fall armyworm.

“We need to adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, including effective integration of improved varieties with resistance to the pest, environmentally safer pesticides, biological control … and good agronomic practices,” he says. “We need to [increase] extensive awareness among extension agents and farming communities about IPM strategy for the control of fall armyworm.”

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According to Tambo, the findings have implications for policymakers, researchers and farmers. Farmers need to adopt low-risk pesticides products such as biopesticides, and combine them with safe non-chemical options including rotation and intercropping with other crops such as beans and cassava, he explains.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.

References

Justice A. Tambo and others Impact of fall armyworm invasion on household income and food security in Zimbabwe (Food and Energy Security, 15 March 2020)

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OPINION EXCHANGE 600042914

Minnesota is poised to lead an environmental breakthrough

Minnesota StarTribune

Pending bills would give communities local control over pesticides, safeguard protected wildlife areas and more. By Karin Winegar APRIL 6, 2021 — 5:29PM

NICOLE NERI • NICOLE.NERI@STARTRIBUNE.COMBees are one of the many pollinators harmed by pesticides.TEXT SIZEEMAILPRINTMORE

When I was a child in a southern Minnesota farm town, summers were filled with bird music, bee hum, firefly light and frog song. Then the city sprayed with what I presume was DDT. A great silence followed that fogger.

In 1962, marine biologist Rachel Carson’s bestseller “Silent Spring,” an indictment of DDT, appeared and led to a ban on the pesticide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1972.

As an adult, I watched a growing range of chemicals being linked to rises in cancer, nerve damage, obesity, endocrine disruption, death and deformities (frogs, alligators) and die-offs (birds, pollinators, fish) in the natural world. As a journalist, I sometimes wrote about the effects of man-made chemicals and, in particular, the consequences of pesticide and herbicide use.

Now Minnesota stands on the cusp of passing some of the most enlightened legislation in the nation to protect human and ecosystem health. With a handful of bills slated to be heard in the Legislature, we may have reached a critical mass of scientific documentation, legislative smarts and public understanding that could result in a state that is cleaner, safer and healthier for people, pets and vital pollinators.

The pending bills give communities local control over pesticides (HF 718), set rules for pesticide-coated corn and soy seed to avoid contamination (HF 766), prohibit neonicotinoid systemic pesticides (aka “neonics”) and chlorpyrifos (insecticide) in protected wildlife areas (HF 1210), impose a statewide ban on chlorpyrifos (HF 670) and increase pollinator-lethal insecticide fees with revenue allocated to pollinator research (HF 408).

Decades of study by institutions including Cornell University, Harvard University’s School of Public Health, Rutgers University and consumer protection groups show correlations between pesticides and the current insect apocalypse, rises in cancer and pet illness and deaths, and damage to child development.

DDT may have gone, but neonics are far more powerful. Results of a study by the University Koblenz and Landau in Germany, published in Science magazine on April 1, finds “that the toxicity of applied insecticides to aquatic invertebrates and pollinators has increased considerably.”

“These are extremely challenging and complex issues, and Minnesota is offering a number of innovative ways to respond to much-needed protections,” says Aimée Code, pesticide program director of the nonprofit Xerces Society based in Portland, Ore. “Across the country people are seeking answers, and states are looking at what is happening in Minnesota. Minnesota has been creative in seeking solutions through such actions as the Lawns to Legumes program and efforts to label pesticides, to ratchet down pesticide use, to create more bio-sensitive and sustainable agriculture and to give farmers incentives to not use treated seed.

“Currently, [people] think pest control and pesticide are synonymous, and that pesticides should be a first line of defense, ” Code explained. “The vast majority of our invertebrates are foundational species that offer ecological services — everything from pest management, to help filtering our water, to pollination. Chemical pesticides have become ingrained in our agriculture and homeowner practices. We have to think of smarter solutions.”

As farmers, consumers and legislative bodies continue to get smarter about solutions, neonics were banned for outdoor use in the European Union in 2018. Legislation pending in New York, California, Alaska and Massachusetts would do likewise.

Mac Ehrhardt is co-owner of the Albert Lea Seed House, a third generation family firm that put certified organic seed on its menu in 1998. The latter is a small but increasing percentage of Seed House business, he says. And while a majority of farmers purchase seed there based on costs, others recognize the concerns around chemicals.

What is also new on the issue, Ehrhardt says, is “we are getting legislators brave enough to stand up and do what is right even though they know a percentage of constituents will be angry with them.”

The Minnesota bills reflect an understanding that what affects insects, plants and animals affects humans as well.

“The evidence is very clear that neonics can be found throughout the environment now in places they are not expected to be,” says Jonathan Lundgren, an agroecologist, director of ECDYSIS Foundation, CEO of Blue Dasher Farm in Estilline, S.D., and former U.S. Department of Agriculture award-winning entomologist. Lundgren’s recent study of white tail deer spleens demonstrates that the world’s most widely used pesticide class today has negative effects on mammals.

“This has implications for our ecosystem that farmers and legislators alike can appreciate. The response from the ag chem industry is to say their products are safe and helping farmers, but the data really doesn’t support that. Neonics and other chemicals simply aren’t necessary. Farmers are developing systems that make the pesticide question kind of moot. Regenerative farming is proving to be more resilient and more profitable. The scientists got it, and farmers are getting it.”

Karin Winegar, of St. Paul, is a freelance journalist and former Star Tribune staff writer.

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Part of the CGIAR International Year of Plant Health Webinar Series

https://www.cgiar.org/iyoph-2020-webinar-series/integrated-pest-and-disease-management/

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By Charlotte Tucker -March 9, 2021Share on FacebookTweet on Twitter

Prof. Irina Borodina, founder of BioPhero

Today BioPhero, the insect pheromone company, today announced it has raised around €14.2 million in Series A funding led by DCVC Bio with participation from new investor FMC Ventures, as well as existing investors Syngenta Group Ventures and Novo Holdings. The startup, which has a mission to replace many chemical insecticides with sustainable biological insect pheromones, will use this funding to ramp up production of several products and to produce pheromones at the quantity, quality, and price required to allow farmers to control major pests in a variety of row crops.

Pheromones, being non-toxic, can be a powerful tool to achieve the objective of insect pest control, while avoiding the negative impacts on environment and biodiversity associated with overuse of synthetic chemicals. Pheromones are naturally produced by insects, but they can also be used very effectively to control the buildup of pest populations in farmers’ fields by disrupting their mating process. They are highly sustainable as they are insect-specific and non- toxic. Not only can they replace insecticide use but they can also reduce over-application by helping to prevent the buildup of resistance against both chemical insecticides and GM seeds.

Following its seed round in 2018, BioPhero developed – and scaled up – new and efficient production methods for insect pheromones using microbial fermentation. The production processes use renewable raw materials, produce less waste than the traditional chemical synthesis, and – crucially – are able to deliver insect pheromones at the cost, quality, and volume required for row crops such as wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans. BioPhero has successfully demonstrated that it can produce pheromones at tonne-scale, and the company is now ready to start production of its first product and to make it available to customers and development partners around the world.

Kristian Ebbensgaard, CEO of BioPhero, explained: “We aim to give farmers a new option: To protect their crops using biological insect pheromones rather than having to rely on insecticides. In row crops this has not been possible until now because of the high cost of pheromones. At BioPhero, we have shown we can break this cost barrier. We are delighted to continue to attract such high-quality investors and see this as a testament to the success we have had in developing and scaling biological pheromone production and delivering new options for growers”.

Unlike with insecticides, insects do not develop resistance to insect pheromones because they are produced by females to attract males for mating and do not present a single target that can easily be overcome by evolution. Insect pheromones are highly effective, have an exemplary safety record and do not harm pollinators or other non-target insects.

“We have been examining the use of insect pheromones in agriculture and new startups in this area for many years. Until now, no company has succeeded in manufacturing pheromones at a cost and scale suitable for worldwide use,” said John Hamer co-Managing Partner of DCVC Bio. “BioPhero’s patented breakthrough platform is the only one that is delivering the cost structure, manufacturing flexibility and quality that allow pheromones to be deployed on major row crops.”

BioPhero was founded in 2016 by Prof. Irina Borodina as a technology spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark. Borodina has assembled a dedicated world-class team with competencies within metabolic engineering, fermentation, chemistry, and process development, also participating as a consortium member in the EU-funded Projects OLEFINE and PHERA. 

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Controlling herbicide resistance takes persuading

TAGS: WEEDSRESISTANCE MANAGEMENTBrad Hairebrad-haire-farm-press-pigweed-smallish-cotton-GA.jpgCharlie Cahoon urges farmers to be on the lookout for Palmer amaranth surviving 2,4-D or dicamba. Integrated pest management is key for tackling herbicide resistance.

John Hart | Jan 04, 2021

The answers to managing herbicide resistance are fairly simple, the hard part comes in persuading farmers to implement the practices that do the most good.

Charlie Cahoon, North Carolina State University Extension weed specialist, says integrated pest management is key. Farmers need to rotate herbicide chemistries and turn to cultural and mechanical methods to alleviate some of the pressure on over-used herbicides.

“As Extension specialists, we’ve been using fire and brimstone. We think one of the tactics that drives folks to change practices on their farm is to scare them to death,” Cahoon said in a presentation at the virtual North Carolina Crop Protection School Dec. 2.

“My daddy has trained bird dogs his whole life. He used to think the way to train a dog was to use discipline. My three-year old daughter just taught him it is quite easy to train a dog with a handful of treats. There are studies to back this up, rewarding good behavior. I think that’s what we are having to learn right now with pesticide resistance: How do we get our growers to put into practice the tactics we’ve been preaching for years,” Cahoon said.

One option, Cahoon says, is providing farmers an economic incentive to implement integrated pest management practices. But where will the incentive come from?

Companies do have inventive programs, but Cahoon believes the incentive programs must cross company lines to encourage farmers to rotate modes of action and implement cultural practices to better control weeds.

Moreover, incentives must be in place for farmers to use cover crops, better crop rotation and other tools such as harvest weed seed control. “It really needs to be a whole industry initiative where we all get on the same page and say, ‘hey let’s reward some of these good behaviors and try to get ahead of this pesticide resistance issue,” Cahoon said.

Herbicide resistance is a problem that’s not going away.

In North Carolina, Cahoon says there is widespread Palmer amaranth resistance to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors, plus expected resistance to PPO inhibitors. There is common ragweed resistance to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors, primarily in the eastern part of the state. And there is widespread Italian ryegrass resistance to ALS inhibitors, mostly in the southern Piedmont.

Looking to the future, Cahoon said he won’t be surprised if North Carolina farmers begin to see resistance to group 15 herbicides, such a Dual, Warrant, Harness and Zidua.

“We use them repeatedly in most of our crops —  corn, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, and sweet potatoes. We are putting quite a bit of pressure on the group 15s, and there is already group 15 Palmer amaranth resistance in Arkansas and also a cousin to Palmer amaranth, waterhemp, is resistant to the group 15s in Illinois,” Cahoon said.

And as the use of dicamba and 2,4-D continues to grow, resistance to these chemistries can be expected as well. “There is evidence we are abusing dicamba and 2,4-D like we did glyphosate. That is unacceptable,” Cahoon said.RELATED Pigweed continues to outflank herbicidesNovember 11, 2020More resistant weeds popping up in North CarolinaMarch 5, 2020Building respect and value for soybeansNovember 24, 2020

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endure

Welcome to the 32nd edition of ENDURE News, the electronic newsletter from ENDURE. Please feel free to share this newsletter with colleagues.

  • IPM works and IPMWORKS will show how!
    A European-wide network of farms is being constructed in order to “demonstrate and promote cost-effective strategies on Integrated Pest Management (IPM)”. Called IPMWORKS, the four-year Horizon 2020 project was launched in October and brings together 31 partners from 16 countries. The project will be developing an online IPM resource toolbox for farmers, advisers and researchers to easily search, share and discuss IPM reources and you can help out by completing a short survey.

  • Survey: Agroecology initiatives in Europe
    Agroecology Europe has produced its first report mapping a large number of agroecological initiatives across Europe, allowing it to identify key findings and recommendations for fostering agroecology around the continent.
  • DiverIMPACTS: Be inspired by success stories
    DiverIMPACTS, the project striving “to achieve the full diversification potential of cropping systems for improved productivity, delivery of ecosystem services and resource-efficient and sustainable value chains”, has published a series of success stories to inspire further diversification.
  • IHAR joins forces for late blight study
    Poland’s Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR) has joined forces with the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research to broaden knowledge “on plant diseases and the factors influencing resistance or susceptibility to pathogens”. In particular, they will be focusing on potato and the economically important disease which affects crops worldwide, potato late blight (pictured right).
  • Magazine gives insights into Agroscope research
    Agroscope, ENDURE’s Swiss partner, has launched a magazine to better share the topics it is working on. Available in English, French and German, the magazine provides concrete examples of its work, alongside interviews with key researchers and access to further sources of information such as videos and other publications.
  • ReMIX: Updates from the teams
    The next challenge for the ReMIX project (Species mixtures for redesigning European cropping systems) has been unveiled by the team’s coordinators. Writing in the project’s third newsletter, they highlight the importance of winning the support of policy makers in increasing the adoption of intercropping.
  • 5 principles for Scottish plant health
    Scotland has launched five key principles to protect the country’s plant health. Scotland’s Plant Health Centre published the principles to mark the United Kingdom’s Plant Health Week, which is itself part of the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health.
  • UK launches centre for tomorrow’s food experts
    Rothamsted Research is joining forces with eight other universities and research institutes in the United Kingdom to create a joint PhD training centre focused on “developing the next generation of interdisciplinary food systems experts”.
  • Downy mildew breakthrough
    French researchers believe new control methods for grapevine downy mildew (pictured right) are a realistic prospect after managing to identify the group of genes involved in its sexual reproduction. It is the first time these genes have been identified in oomycetes, reports France’s INRAE.
  • Catch up with Agroecology Europe
    The latest edition of the newsletter from Agroecology Europe is now available. It includes the association’s position on the European Commission’s From Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies, details of 2021’s 3rd Agroecology Europe forum and news from around the continent, including a feature on an innovative Belgian farmer.
  • Real-life nature-based IPM
    The latest electronic newsletter from Agricology, a community bringing farmers and researchers together to share knowledge in pursuit of “practical sustainable farming regardless of labels”, includes an interesting feature on UK farmer Martin Lines, chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.
  • Intercropping event to go virtual
    DECEMBER update: The organisers of next year’s Intercropping for Sustainability conference have opted for a virtual event via Zoom. Organisers had pledged to remain flexible about the format for the event, which was scheduled to be held at the UK’s University of Reading on January 19th and 20th.
  • Mixtures no ‘silver bullet’ to resistance
    Current efforts to stop the spread of resistance through the use of pesticide mixtures might sometimes “be doing as much harm as good”, says ENDURE partner Rothamsted Research.
  • DIVERSify: Watch and learn!
    The DIVERSify project has launched a mini-series “exploring the benefits and challenges of cultivating crop mixtures as an alternative to monoculture”. The series is called Growing Beyond Monoculture and currently consists of three episodes.
  • PPPs in Swiss field crops: Use and aquatic risks
    Researchers at Agroscope, ENDURE’s Swiss partner, have completed a study examining the use and risk of plant protection products (PPPs) in the country’s field crops over a period of 10 years. They conclude that decreasing amounts of PPPs are being used in the country but show that quantity alone does not determine the risk to the environment.
  • Events calendar: Check it out!
    After the difficulties of staging events in 2020, a slew of conferences and meetings have been rescheduled for 2021, and some events, both new and reorganised, are including the possibility of virtual attendance or even introducing back-up plans that will allow organisers to move meetings to online-only events at short notice.
  • IWMPRAISE: Latest newsletter now available
    IWMPRAISE (Integrated Weed Management: PRActical Implementation and Solutions for Europe) has produced its fourth newsletter, bringing readers up to date with the latest news from the Horizon 2020 project. The project is now entering its fourth and penultimate year and 2020 should have seen the finalisation of experiments and a plethora of workshops and open days, activities which were rendered impossible by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • To find out more about ENDURE, visit: www.endure-network.eu
  • To get in touch with ENDURE, use the contact form
  • Click here to unsubscribe from this newsletter

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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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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9781786393678_Book-1-794x1024.jpg

August 4, 2020

Sara Hendery

Integrated pest management practices bring more than $12 billion to the developing world

This article was originally published by Virginia Tech Daily

The implementation of IPM practices for onions in the Philippines generated $23.5 million in economic benefits for the country, according to recent findings by Virginia Tech and ICIPE researchers.

The implementation of integrated pest management strategies is improving livelihoods and bringing billions of dollars in economic benefits to developing nations.

That’s according to findings of a review published recently by Virginia Tech researchers George Norton, Muni Muniappan, and Jeff Alwang and researcher Menale Kassie from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya. Together they document more than $12 billion in economic benefits as a result of integrated pest management application, which more than pays for all the funds spent globally on IPM.

The research is a compilation of case studies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean that contest the long-held assumption that IPM does not contribute substantial economic benefits to the developing world. Discovering such high economic returns has important implications for nations searching for a pathway out of poverty and food insecurity.

“The assumption that IPM, or ecological practices more generally, are not suitable for the developing country context stems from a lack of information,” said George Norton, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This study provides information to demonstrate that IPM can generate major economic benefits, especially when targeted at particular pests.”

IPM involves the introduction of a combination of agricultural practices to manage pest and disease problems. It grew out of the desire to minimize the overuse of synthetic pesticides. Many believe IPM is less suitable for developing countries, given their often-limited access to resources. However, at the core of IPM is allowing farmers to select certain crop practices — including pruning, using insect traps to monitor pest spread, biocontrol, the application of bio-pesticides, and more — that are most appropriate for their social, economic, and environmental conditions.

The findings appear in a chapter in “The Economics of Integrated Pest Management of Insects,” edited by David Onstad and Philip Crain. It highlights not only IPM success stories, but also economic analysis more generally as a critical decision-making tool for effective crop management.

Virginia Tech’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management has implemented sustainable, IPM-based strategies in the developing world for over a quarter of a century. Some of the program’s economic impacts are documented in the chapter’s case studies, including the program’s implementation of biocontrol to manage the papaya mealybug in India in 2014, which brought up to $1.4 billion in economic benefits to the country.

“The implementation of sustainable technologies isn’t just beneficial for the environment,” said Muniappan, director of the IPM Innovation Lab. “Rather than providing just one pathway to producing healthy plants, IPM offers many that farmers can choose from, which is helpful for communities whose access to economic resources is often changing.”

(From left) George Norton, Muni Muniappan, and collaborator Yousuf Mian in Bangladesh.

Other case studies of IPM practices with high economic returns were highlighted in the chapter:

– Biocontrol of the cassava mealybug in sub-Saharan Africa — $9 billion in economic benefits.

– Biocontrol of the maize stemborer in Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia — $272 million.

– Introduction of virus-resistant groundnuts in Uganda — $62 million.

– IPM for onion in the Philippines — $23.5 million.

– IPM for eggplant and cabbage in Bangladesh — $29 million.

The case studies also document impacts from IPM adoption such as increased yields, reduced poverty and pesticide costs, and environmental benefits. In 2018, for example, a case study in Kenya shows an IPM intercropping technique helped raise at least 75,000 people above the poverty line. In Ecuador, in 2016, IPM practices used for the citrus-flavored fruit naranjilla reduced deforestation costs by an estimated $3.67 million.

“It’s not just about feeding more people,” added Muniappan about the value of the research. “It’s about improving overall livelihoods.”

Norton has collaborated with the IPM Innovation Lab since the program’s inception in 1993. Both Alwang, also a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Kassie, head of the Social Science and Impact Assessment Unit at ICIPE, have in the past or are currently collaborating with the IPM Innovation Lab.

The IPM Innovation Lab is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and housed at the Center for International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs.

This article was originally published by Virginia Tech Daily


The Economics of Integrated Pest Management of Insects is available from the CABI Bookshop.

The findings presented in this article are from chapter 8: Economic Impacts of Integrated Pest Management Practices in Developing Countries.IPMIntegrated Pest managementeconomic impacteconomicsinsect pestsAgriculture and International DevelopmentDevelopment communication and extension


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An inter-country workshop and an experience-sharing session on a virtual platform

Community Business Facilitators (CBF) plant doctor Mr Gannesh Rokaya and Mrs Dipa Poudel of Surkhet giving farmers a technical consultation Our experiences in Nepal during the global COVID-19 pandemic have been both positive and negative. On the positi…

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An inter-country workshop and an experience-sharing session on a virtual platform

Community Business Facilitators (CBF) plant doctor Mr Gannesh Rokaya and Mrs Dipa Poudel of Surkhet giving farmers a technical consultation

Our experiences in Nepal during the global COVID-19 pandemic have been both positive and negative. On the positive side, this difficult time has made us realize the value of coming together and being connected as a community. But the pandemic has also put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk. In Nepal, COVID-19 is now spreading quickly. There is a strong need to protect the most vulnerable and to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts across the country’s food system.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, iDE Nepal has been working in coordination with all the collaborative partners of the Plantwise programme, as well as with government agencies, to adapt and improve the ways in which integrated pest management (IPM) technology and related information is communicated and delivered to smallholder farmers.

Most recently, iDE Nepal teamed up with CABI Plantwise and government agencies to host a workshop on the validation of plant clinic data contained in the Plantwise Online Management System (POMS). The three-day workshop (29–31 May) was hosted on an online platform (Zoom) and was attended by agriculture technicians from iDE Nepal and agriculture experts from Jammu, India. The facilitation of the workshop was carried out by resource personnel (Senior Plant Protection Officers) from the national Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre (PQPMC) and the Agriculture Development Directorate, Pokhara. The guest speakers at the workshop were Dr Vinod Pandit (CABI), Dr Corey O’Hara (Country Director, iDE Nepal) and Mr Komal Pradhan (National Programme Director, iDE Nepal).

The major objective of the validation workshop was to train agriculture technicians at iDE Nepal to harmonize, validate and analyse the plant clinic data managed by iDE Nepal in POMS. The validation of clinic data is crucial in order to evaluate the recommendations and advice given by plant doctors to farmers through plant clinics, and ultimately to enhance the quality of recommendations for the control of insect pests and diseases through IPM. The validation of clinic data is equally important in order to record the quality of services provided by CBF plant doctors, which can be later used as a basis for providing follow-up training to CBF plant doctors at iDE Nepal.

In addition to the valuable validation session facilitated by resource personnel, the experience-sharing session on the validation of clinic data by experts from Jammu, India, was of major help in easing the practical difficulties faced in the validation of clinic data.

Overall, the workshop was a success considering the learning gained on the validation of clinic data. It was also a beneficial platform for strengthening coordination with government bodies, and for inter-country experience-sharing with the ultimate goal of providing quality services to small-holder farmers.

Read more about Plantwise in NepalIntegrated Pest management, Nepal, covid-19, digital development, plant clinics, plant doctors, smallholder agricultureAgriculture and International Development, Development communication and extension, Digital development

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