About e-mimi

As farmers carry out activities in the production-to-utilization continuum of various crop value chains, they encounter challenges posed by pests (vertebrates, arthropod pests, diseases and weeds). It is estimated that pests cause, on average, yield losses of about 30% but if left unchecked farmers can incur yield losses of up to 100%due to a single pest or complex of pests. Other than direct damage, losses could be incurred through competition for resources, as usually happens when effort is re-directed towards the management of pest conditions.

The types of pests and diseases encountered are wide-ranging and lead to crop health conditions that require diagnosis and management. Such situations are brought about by disease-causing organisms (pathogens), arthropod pests (insects and mites) and weeds at production and post-production stages of commodities grouped as food crops, horticultural crops and industrial crops, as well as fodder/forage crops for livestock value chains.

The backbone of any management of the pests lies in their proper identification, which allows a pest manager to monitor the pest abundance and ensure timely control before the damage becomes of economic importance. In this regard, the Crop Health Programme in KALRO as an important  reference point for farmers and also other clients, including agricultural extension officers, researchers, educators, regulatory service agencies and private services providers. Interactions with farmers and agricultural extension staff in the course of carrying out other processes also lead to the clients getting to know the importance of accurate and timely diagnosis of problems affecting various crops. It is noteworthy that in many instances, most clients rush for assistance when situations are already out of hand; consequently, they are encouraged to seek professional guidance before too much damage has been done.

The main categories of biotic disease-causing agents are fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. Arthropod pests affecting crop health include those in the following groups: lepidoptera, coleoptera, orthoptera, thysanoptera, hymenoptera, isoptera, diptera, homoptera, hemiptera and acarina. The Crop Health Programme also handles issues related to weeds and invasive plant species, including control measures such as conventional tillage and conservation agriculture.

Pest management takes into consideration aspects such as prevention, control and eradication. In so doing cultural, biological, physical as well as chemical measures should be integrated in the most economical and effective combinations. Management also encompasses utilization of beneficial organisms for the benefit of farmers. These include, for example, pollinators, natural enemies of the pests and soil ameliorators. Use of any pest control product should consider conservation of these as they enable farmers earn even more with less inputs of production.