Cowpea, A Major Source of Protein in Africa, Requires Insecticide Applications.

Nematodes!

Cowpea Damage From Insects

Cowpea (also known as black-eyed pea) originated in Africa and is the major source of plant proteins in the diet of rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Insect pests pose the greatest threat to cowpea production. The crop is attacked at every stage of its growth by insects. Since the late 1970s, extensive studies on insect pests of cowpeas have been conducted at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). IITA’s Guide to Cowpea Production in West Africa states that generally, 2-3 sprays are required for a good crop of cowpea.

“Cowpea is one of the most important food and forage legumes in the semi-arid tropics.

Despite cowpea’s importance and high yield potential in the Nigerian savannas, insect pest attack is a major constraint upon production. Severity can vary, and sometimes lead to total yield loss.

High levels of insect resistance are not available in current cultivars.

Insecticide application is the most widely known means of a pest control method in cowpea; it is not otherwise feasible to grow cowpea commercially. Farmers can improve yield 10-fold if insecticides are used.”

Authors: Kamara, A. Y., et al.
Affiliation: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria.
Title: Integrating planting date with insecticide spraying regimes to manage insect pests of cowpea in north-eastern Nigeria.
Source: International Journal of Pest Management. 2010. 56[3]:243-253.

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Nematicide Applications Could Increase Food Production in Africa

Roots

Nematodes are invertebrate roundworms that are second only to insects in the number of species in the animal kingdom. One cubic foot of soil may contain millions of individual nematodes. Nematodes feed on plant roots. Damage and low yields caused by nematodes frequently go unrecognized or are attributed to other causes. Research in Africa has demonstrated that controlling plant-parasitic nematodes can increase crop yields dramatically.

“Sweet pepper, the second most important vegetable crop in Niger, after onions is grown all over the country, but the region of Diffa alone accounts for over 85% of national production. The area planted in 2008 exceeds 7000 ha with a production estimated at 120000 t.

The production is mainly exported to Nigeria and procures substantial income to the people of the region of Diffa.

The average fruit yield of the crop is about 17 t/ha. This is very low compared to the potential of the crop. This low yield is partly due to diseases and pests pressure, namely the damage caused by plant-parasitic nematodes. …Yield losses caused by these nematodes can reach up to 60% in heavily infested sandy soils.

The study assessed the effectiveness of Savanem 20 EC (Ethoprophos, 200g/l), a newly introduced nematicide on the plant-parasitic nematodes associated with sweet pepper.

Savanem increased the average yield by 37.1% and Furadan by 20.6%.

Savanem 20 EC, at the dose of 50 L/ha is effective against the community of parasitic nematodes on sweet pepper.”

Authors: Adamou, H., et al.
Affiliation: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN)
Title: On-farm testing of savanem 20 EC (ethoprophos) for control of plant parasitic nematodes associated with pepper (Capsicum annuum) in tillaberi (Niger).
Source: Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 2013. 5[4]:83-87.

IITA Recommends Herbicides for West African Farmers

Laborers Hand-Weeding

Laborers Hand-Weeding

The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) located in Ibadan, Nigeria has been conducting weed control research since its founding in 1967. For many years, the research focused on “low-input” non-chemical methods of controlling weeds. However, the “low-input” methods were never widely-adopted by African farmers who resorted to the centuries-old practice of handweeding their fields. IITA considers handweeding not to be sustainable and recommends that West African farmers use herbicides to control weeds in maize fields.

“Although manual weeding is an age-old practice in West Africa, it is no longer sustainable because of high labor costs and the aging farming population. Judicious use of herbicides is recommended to control weeds effectively and increase maize productivity. We normally recommend the use of postemergence herbicides to kill weeds before land preparation and planting.”

Author: Alpha Y. Kamara
Affiliation: Reporter
Title: Best practices for maize production in the West African savannas
Source: IITA, R4D Review. Issue 9. September 2012.