IPM of cassava in Africa in the 21st century (a light-hearted glimpse into my crystal ball)

Pages 27-34

Peter Neuenschwander

ABSTRACT

In a fictive report from the year 2020, the author looks back on 25 years of Integrated

Pest Management (IPM) in cassava, describing potential scenarios concerning IPM on cassava in

Africa. While actual work has progressed considerably and has been adapted to new conditions (for example, periurban agriculture), previously used plant protection approaches are still valuable. Many organisms have been recognized as posing no economic threat. The development of new, more nutritious or low-cyanide varieties has, however, led to new pest problems. The increased frequency of El Nino events has favored many old pests, and several new species have been introduced inadvertently from South America. Cassava cultivation has spread, particularly to less productive sites, with a corresponding increase of pest problems. The genetically more uniform background of cassava has allowed epidemics to develop; but, overall, plant protection practices have been improved to cope with the remaining challenges. Under conditions of good plant husbandry genetic improvement of cassava could truly realize its potential, combining drought resistance, more efficient use of nutrients, resistance to a number of diseases and pests, weed-competitive plant types, and varied consumer characteristics. Invaders from South America have been brought under good, though not total, control by the introduction of exotic natural enemies (classical biological control). Against some grasshoppers and termites, specific mycopesticides are routinely applied. Location-specific agronomic practices that enhance pest control are still few and difficult to propagate, despite ample use of farmers- field schools. The old admonition for better collaboration and priority setting in research to achieve the goal of poverty alleviation through improved and sustainable agriculture still holds true.

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