How do farmers typically assess and manage pests/disease in your area?

Greetings, brothers and sisters. Would y’all mind telling me about the phytosanitary practices of the typical farmer in your area, especially in emerging/developing markets?

  • How do they tend to monitor for pests and pathogens?
  • How do they evaluate a pest or pathogen they’ve discovered?
  • How do they respond to an infestation or outbreak?

Thank you kindly and peace be with y’all.

Hi I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer in Southern Province ,Zambia, in my village, near 100% of the population is rural maize farming, and small vegetable production.

Monitor for pests - the Small farmer is in the field every day weeding or watering or preventing cattle and goats sheep etc from eating the crops.
Evaluate a pest - talk to neighbors, if the neighbors have the same pest they will take it to the faming representative.
Respond to an infestation - if the infestation is bad enough the ag officer will come out and spray. If not the farmers will buy a pesticide and use a backpack sprayer to spray the crops. The pesticides are available for anyone to buy at local pharmacies. The pharmacy usually has a minimally trained person to sell these items and many times inappropriate pesticides are used as not all of the pharmacies are honest*.*
in animals - I observed an anthrax outbreak. the ministry of health responded and vaccinated all the cattle in the village (but none of the people) after quite a few people in a neighboring district died of cutaneous anthrax infections. They just waited too long to receive medical care.
Fowl pox and other chicken, guinea fowl, and turkey diseases spread unchecked and mites cause some flocks to be very poorly.
Traditional medicine demands that a cow with an infection be burned (branded in a circle around the eye) which gives the cow yet another would to try to heal.
regular deworming of people and animals is not practiced unless the child is under 5 years old.
Little to no veterinary care in the rural villages, lack of trained vets and lack of transportation make animal care very difficult.
this is pretty general, if you need details I can ask my host family, the father is a farming leader in the community and could give you better info. also, he speaks pretty nice English!!!

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Thank you for the outline, Lori! Can you tell me a little about the farming representative to whom the neighbors present their challenges? How did he come to have that role? What sort of training does he have? Does he tend to prescribe a pesticide treatment?

If their is a plant disease, do the farmer’s ever try to cut and bury or burn the affected plants? Will they choose to simply take a loss in one crop and rely on the remaining crop species to provide for their needs?

Thank you kindly once again for your insights.

Hi, Farmers here grow the following arable crops: sorghum, millet, peanut, cowpea, sesame, vegetables are also grown in garden areas.

  1. They would go to their fields and walk around. Generally not intentionally to do any insect monitoring. With the exception of sesame or cowpea if farmers heard insects in a particular region were doing alot of damage they might go see if they should spray their crops too.

  2. They don’t have quantitive ways to sample them. They generally don’t sample insects or disease. They wouldn’t have heard of thresholds. The vast majority of farmers would be illiterate.

  3. They would either call someone known to spray crops or spray themselves. Most farmers are illiterate and the insecticides sold are imported from a niegbouring country in a language that even the educated here can’t read. The range of products on the market is very small. Backpack sprayers are most common. Rates are unknown/ unrespected. Preharvest intervals would also be unrespected for vegetable crops.

The vast majority of people don’t practice crop protection - and those that do, do it very dangerously.

I once ran little training course… the stories we heard… wow , frightening. People telling of pouring chemical into a bucket and mixing it with some water and using a leafy branch from a tree to sprinkle it on their crops. One guy I knew used a whole small can of lambda cylohalothrine to treat his one fruit tree for fruit fly… Many people recycle the chemical bottles and use them for water bottles as they are such good quality plastic.

Labels, MSDS… unknown here… what you can mix with what, how to calibrate a sprayer… I’d bet most people that spray have never even tried to calibrate their sprayers… they put water in… put some chemical in and go!

Use of preplant seed treatment is becoming more common. And people also use post harvest chemicals… some in really dangerous ways and they basically poison peoples food, especially the cowpeas.

I think it’d be great if there were some little videos with basic info on this kinda thing for the farmers here. But yeah, time is limited and there is other good news people really need to hear.

So yeah, lots of potential to improve things. Wanna come? :smile:


Where is “here,” Dave? Would that be Niger?

In (1), you’re saying farmer’s will pre-spray their crops if they hear through the grapevine that insects are doing damage in the proximity?

Can you elaborate on the post-harvest treatments?

Brother, I would love to come over! Personal obligations prevent it for the foreseeable future. May God open the door when it is right.

Hi Scott,

Sorry its been a while.

Yes you correctly understood what I meant in (1).

Post harvest treatments. Well, a friend told me of walking through a market and it being really smelly only to discover people were pouring chemical on a big pile of cowpeas…

PICS sacks now, or the knock-offs are easy to find and frequently used.

Phostoxin is also used. Even for normal sacks people will wrap a phostoxin tablets in a bit of cloth and put in into the sack under a bit of the grain before sowing up the sack… and then they’ll put it in their shed… or their house, etc… I’ve never heard of someone making an airtight shed and putting in a certain number of tablets per cubic meter or anything like that. They just put it in the sacks, or, one guy I knew would chuck a bunch of tablets around on a Friday evening before locking up the project shed which had louvre windows as a way to kill rats.

I have seen a chemical on sale for post harvest treatment - the name isn’t coming to mind though. If I see it around I’ll let you know.

So you know, the main chemical people use are for seed treatments are: Thriam, imidacloprid, permethrin, metalaxyl

Main chemicals used in sprays: dimethoate, lambda-cylohalothrin, DDVP

Some people will use neem sprays, or home made ones with chili, tobaco and neem (from leaves or seed) as NGO’s sometimes do training on this.

Hope that helps.

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