African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Understanding the need for transfer of biologically-based crop protection technology for soil pest control in vegetable production in Rwanda

Musebe R.
  • Musebe R.
  • CABI Africa, P. O. Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Dusenge L.
  • Dusenge L.
  • Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016 Kigali, Rwanda.
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Agwanda C.
  • Agwanda C.
  • CABI Africa, P. O. Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Kajuga J.
  • Kajuga J.
  • Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016 Kigali, Rwanda.
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Waweru B.
  • Waweru B.
  • Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016 Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Google Scholar
Karanja D.
  • Karanja D.
  • CABI Africa, P. O. Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Hongmei L.
  • Hongmei L.
  • CABI East Asia, C/o MoA-CABI Joint Lab for Biosafety, Beijing 100193, China.
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Day R.
  • Day R.
  • CABI Africa, P. O. Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 01 March 2017
  •  Accepted: 20 April 2017
  •  Published: 25 May 2017

Abstract

Despite growth in Rwanda’s agricultural production ability, with food crops representing 33% of the National GDP and 80% of the population reliant on agriculture, food supply remains fragile. A factor which has significant impact on productivity is soil pests, whose effects filter through the whole value chain. Poor yields result in demand that exceeds supply, leading to higher food prices and reduced affordability by the poor. Poor quality products result in lower consumer acceptability and short shelf life. Rwandan farmers have limited access to plant protection products. A survey of farmers conducted in 2008 revealed that only 16% of the households use pesticides and few use other products for soil pest control. This paper examined the existing vegetable production situation, major soil pests for vegetables and the needs of the farmers in respect to soil pests’ management in Rwanda in 2014. From interviews of 110 vegetable farmers and 18 key informants, it was established that the main vegetable crops were cassava, beans, Irish potatoes and cabbages. The main method for vegetable production was intercropping. Production of vegetables was not intensive as evidenced by the limited use of high value inputs such as fertilizers and crop protection chemicals. The vegetable production constraints starting from the most serious were insect pests, diseases, lack of high quality seeds, high cost of pesticides and fertilizers. The key insect pests were white grubs, cutworms, termites and bean fly. Most of the farmers (76%) did not control the insect pests due to lack of knowledge, lack of alternative methods for pest management and high cost of pest control products especially the chemical pesticides. Chemical pesticides were reported as the main control method by 55% of those who controlled insect pests. This translates to only 13% of the farmers reporting use of chemical pesticides to control insect pests. This represents a 3% decline in the already low (16%) use of chemical pesticides to control insect pests. Conversely, pest infestation levels have been increasing over time. Diversification of the pest control methods is therefore warranted and has indeed been lauded as a key approach to improving pest control. Biologically-based crop protection technology using entomopathogenic nematodes is critical for improving insect pest control. This is due to the possibility of the technology being maintained over a large area without major efforts on the part of the already financially resource poor farmers. Facilitating access to information about the sources of the biologically-based insect pest control technology can enhance diversification of the insect control methods.

 

Key words: Soil pests, biological control, crop protection, entomopathogenic nematodes.