In the last few decades, farmers have relied on synthetic pesticides to managed crop pests and diseases. This is because synthetic pesticides are easily available, have quick knock down effect, have varied modes of action and are reliable. However, some synthetic pesticides are not easily degraded, they leave residues in crop products, are expensive, are harmful to the user and are an environmental hazard.
In addition, some pests and disease pathogens have developed resistance to synthetic pesticides forcing farmers to apply even more pesticides since the target markets demand aesthetically presentable produce. Presence of residues in fresh vegetables has led to increased interceptions and famers have been denied access to lucrative markets. This has led to increased monetary losses, loss of market reputation and loss of income. Requirements by European and local market on maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in vegetable produce have resulted in reduced export and sale volumes due to non-compliance by small holder growers.
The main objective of this study will be to develop alternative pest and disease management options in intensive smallholder vegetable production by incorporating botanical and microbial biopesticides in IPM programmes for enhanced niche market access. The objective of the study is to develop alternative pest and disease management options in intensive smallholder French bean and tomato production by incorporating botanical and microbial biopesticides in IPM programmes for enhanced niche market access. Biopesticides are safe, are degradable and do not have negative effects on nontarget organisms and the environment.
The project evaluated the efficacy of plant extracts and microbial antagonists in managing pests and diseases in French bean and tomato. The comparative effectiveness of plant extracts and antagonistic fungi with the synthetic pesticides and the commercialized antagonists and botanicals is proof that the crude products have similar potential as the synthetic pesticides. Therefore, there is need for further exploration of local environment for bio-active plants and organisms be identified and screened for antimicrobial properties and formulated for inclusion in IPM programmes. This will help the average farmer meet the production costs, have higher income and at the same time have clean, safe and quality produce for high value markets.
This study was conducted by Muthomi, J. W; Lengai, G. M. W; Fulano, A. M; Wagacha, J. M; Narla, R. D and Mwang’ombe, A. W.