Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’


New Zealand


Natural pesticides tested
Updated at 2:20 pm on 23 March 2015

New Zealand scientists have begun trials to test the effectiveness of some natural pesticides on one of the world’s worst vegetable pests, the diamond back moth.
The moth caterpillar causes serious damage to brassica crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy.
More than a billion dollars a year is spent on trying to control the pest. The moth quickly becomes resistant to whatever chemical pesticide is used on it.
Scientists working under the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University, with the backing of genetic specialists at New Zealands Genomics, have been trying a non-chemical biological approach.
They have been investigating the potential of using several native fungi and bacteria in bio-pesticide sprays.
The centre’s director Professor Travis Glare said work was well advanced and they were two weeks into a 16-week field trial.
“We’ve identified several bacteria and one species of fungus that show real promise. We’ve actually got a new programme funded from the government called the next generation bio pesticide programme, a Bioprotection Research Centre programme that has AgResearch staff in there and Lincoln University and Plant and Food staff.
And we are combining our best (biological control) agents and using them in a field trial against diamond back moth.”
Professor Glare said the use of a combination of biological agents to control pests was also different from the single solution approach taken with chemical pesticides.
“The traditional approach to using biopesticides is really very much to mimic what you would do with a chemical pesticide, so you produce one organism and then you spray it out.”
“Our work in the Bioprotection Research Centre has highlighted that really, nature does things through combination. It rarely uses one agent to get to an end point. And so this sort of silver bullet approach we’ve been looking for, for years, is probably not the best way to go.”
“And so we’re looking at these combinations of agents to see if using different combinations of bacteria and fungi together, will have a greater effect than using any one by itself.”
Professor Glare said bio protection researchers also looked for agents that would control more than one pest.


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Vietnamese farmers’ overuse of pesticide harms fertile soil



VietNamNet Bridge – In the 1950s, Vietnamese used about 100 tons of pesticide in agricultural production a year. The figure soared by 150 times 40 years later.

Vietnam over use of pesticides



An expert commented the way of using plant protection chemicals is special, because there is no common rule to follow. Vietnamese farmers use chemicals and spray pesticide any time they think they have to do this.
“They don’t care how the pesticide overuse will affect plants, soil, water sources and humans, because they believe this is the management agencies’ and scientists’ business,” he noted.
The expert went on to say that Vietnam is leading the world in rice, coffee and tea exports, but it is also among the countries with a high use of pesticide.
He cited a recent report as saying that 85 percent of vegetable growers “use pesticide based on their own experience”, while 43 percent of them use pesticide with a concentration twice as much as recommended.
The report also said farmers spray pesticide any time when they discover insects and they sell vegetable products whenever they need money.
The unplanned use of pesticide has caused worrying problems. Up to 51.24 percent of vegetable samples have been found to have pesticide and heavy metal residues higher than the permitted levels.
A report by the Ministry of Health showed that there are 15-20 million people in the country regularly exposed to pesticides, and 70 percent of them show symptoms of poisoning. This is one of the 10 biggest causes of mortality at hospitals, and this is one of the reasons causing cancer.
The other surveys conducted by many agencies have also found alarming figures. Vietnam spends VND20-24 trillion every year on plant protection chemicals. It has to import 100 percent of active elements, 90 percent of additives and 50 percent of plant protection products, mostly from China.
According to the Plant Protection Agency, it discovered during a recent inspection tour that 0.6-0.8 percent of import consignments of plant protection chemicals could not meet the standards, which were then forced to be re-exported, and 3-10 percent of products made domestically could not satisfy the requirements.
There are 20,000 plant protection chemical sales agents throughout the country, but it is very difficult to control the quality of the products distributed by them.
Analysts noted that the benefits Vietnam gets are not adequate to the money it spends. Tuoi Tre quoted its source as saying that Vietnam spent $700 million on plant protection in 2013, while the money it gained from tea exports was just 1/3 of that amount.
Thien Nhien

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Press Release

Virginia Tech University

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blacksburg, VA, USA

University awarded $18 million to implement integrated pest management program in developing countries
Virginia Tech has won a new $18 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for a research program that will work to raise the standard of living of people around the world through environmentally sound agricultural practices as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab (formerly Collaborative Research Support Program) for Integrated Pest Management will conduct research and extension activities with farmers, counterpart universities, and host-country government research institutes to implement ecologically sustainable pest and disease control strategies. The predecessor programs to this new award have been led by Virginia Tech University for the past 21 years.
USAID recently announced that Virginia Tech would once again lead the program, a move that represents a vote of confidence in the work that has been ongoing since 1993. The new program will have a strong foundation in areas such as sustainable intensification, ecological service provision, ecological research, and empowerment of women farmers.
“We’ve been forming partnerships, conducting research, and getting to know farmers all over the world for the past two decades,” said Rangaswamy “Muni” Muniappan, who has led the Innovation Lab since 2006. “Our work has shown great results, and we look forward to continuing the fight against hunger.”
The competitively-awarded program will address new and emerging pest problems that plague farmers in the developing world, as well as model and manage the spread of invasive species. Program scientists will also be investigating ways to preserve biodiversity and offset the impacts of climate change on agricultural pests and diseases.
The new Innovation Lab, managed by Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development, will commit its core resources to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa and to Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam in Asia.
The Asian arm of the program will include two main sub-programs: one focused on rice in Burma and Cambodia, and a second on horticultural crops in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Vietnam. The Nepal program will additionally address integrated pest management for grains and climate change impacts.
The projects in eastern Africa will focus on innovative crop protection research for increased production and preservation of high-priority Feed the Future staple crops like maize, wheat, and chickpea in Ethiopia; rice and maize in Tanzania; and high-value vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania. The program will also research and implement new strategies to control existing and emergent pest infestations in countries where farmers with limited resources are predicted to be heavily affected by climate variability.
“This program has been working on the ground with poor farmers, making a difference in their lives, and contributing to global food security,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to learn from past challenges and build on our successes.”
As in all the previous phases of the program, U.S. researchers will strengthen and forge new partnerships with international colleagues and work directly with farmers. The core tenets will remain unchanged: The program will strive to reduce pesticide use, increase food production, improve health, and make a difference in the lives of poor people in developing countries all over the world.
“A small innovation in a farmer’s life can have a huge impact on their family and on succeeding generations,” said Muniappan.

About Feed the Future
Feed the Future (www.feedthe future.gov) is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.
About Virginia Tech
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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Photo: ©USDA/Scott Bauer.
A female oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) laying eggs in the skin of a papaya.


Research findings should reduce trade barriers and boost pest control measures

28 October 2014, Rome/Vienna – Four of the world’s most destructive agricultural pests are actually one and the same fruit fly, according to the results of a global research effort released today. The discovery should lead to the easing of certain international trade restrictions and also aid efforts to combat the ability of these harmful insects to reproduce, experts said.

The so-called Oriental, Philippine, Invasive and Asian Papaya fruit flies, the study shows, all belong to the same biological species, Bactrocera dorsalis, which is causing incalculable damage to horticultural industries and food security across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

The international collaborative effort, involving close to 50 researchers from 20 countries, began in 2009 and was coordinated by FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It followed an integrative approach, examining evidence across a range of disciplines.

The ability to precisely identify pests is central to pest management, including quarantine measures or bans applied to internationally traded food and agriculture products such as fruit and vegetables.

Keeping exotic fruit flies out is a major concern for many countries. The study’s findings mean that trade restrictions linked to the Oriental fruit fly should now fall away in cases where the insect is present in both the importing and exporting country, according to Jorge Hendrichs from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in Vienna.

“This outcome has major implications for global plant biosecurity, especially for developing countries in Africa and Asia,” said the study’s lead author, Mark Schutze, from the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

“For example, the Invasive –now Oriental — fruit fly has devastated African fruit production with crop losses exceeding 80 percent and has led to widespread trade restrictions with refusal of shipments of products into Asia, Europe and Japan, and significant economic and social impacts on farming communities,” Schutze added.

Using sterilized males to mate with wild females

The findings of the study will also simplify techniques like the use of sterilized males to prevent the growth of pest populations.

A form of insect birth control, the sterile insect technique involves releasing mass-bred male flies that have been sterilized by low doses of radiation into infested areas, where they mate with wild females. These do not produce offspring and, as a result, the technique can suppress, if applied systematically on an area-wide basis, populations of wild flies in an environmentally friendly way. The FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories have demonstrated that the four fruit flies freely interbreed, which means that instead of using males from the four supposedly different species, mass-produced sterile Oriental fruit fly males can now be used against all the different populations of this major pest.

“Globally, accepting these four pests as a single species will lead to reduced barriers to international trade, improved pest management, facilitated transboundary international cooperation, more effective quarantine measures, the wider application of established post-harvest treatments, improved fundamental research and, most importantly, enhanced food security for some of the world’s poorest nations,” Schutze said.

The findings of the FAO/IAEA coordinated study, published in the journal Systematic Entomology means that the four, previously considered distinct fruit-fly species, will now be combined under the single name: Bactrocera dorsalis, the Oriental fruit fly.

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