Potentials and challenges of natural pest control for sustainable legume production in Africa

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Review Paper 01/03/2017
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Potentials and challenges of natural pest control for sustainable legume production in Africa

Prisila A. Mkenda, Patrick A. Ndakidemi, Ernest Mbega
Int. J. Biosci.10( 3), 357-373, March 2017.
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Insect pest is among major challenges facing leguminous crop production in small scale farming systems in Africa. Control using chemicals is both expensive and uncommon among farmers in the region. Need for cost effective and ecofriendly methods such as natural pest control are highly appropriate and recommended for sustainable leguminous crop production in Africa. Natural pest control is an innovative, sustainable and environmentally benign pest management service delivered to agriculture through natural enemies (NEs). Most of the NEs belong to several arthropod orders and they are in three major categories; predators, parasitoids and pathogens. These beneficial organisms can be found in large numbers in natural and semi-natural habitats where there is less environmental disturbance. However, there is insufficient knowledge among most African farmers about natural pest control and differentiating the beneficial insects from the insect pests has been a challenge among them. Poor management of agriculture ecosystems like indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fire settings and simplification of agricultural ecosystems such as clearing of non-cropped habitats and decreased farm heterogeneity are among the factors affecting the NEs leading to weakened natural pest control. This review explores the science of the NEs, their potentials and challenges in pest management in legumes and proposes the recommendations for research on the use of NEs for sustainable agricultural production in small scale farming systems in Africa.


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