Researching crop pests and diseases Identifying pests
Proper pest identification is the basis for the development of environmentally sound pest control programmes. Misidentification can lead to crop failures and increased environmental pollution and poor use of limited resources. There is a large demand in various countries for diagnostic services and information on crop pests. Unfortunately, in the third world, pest diagnostic capabilities are scarce and difficult to access by extension officers and farmers because of the lack of resources and diagnostic centers in these countries. Once the pest is identified, they often do not have access to information on the biology, ecology and control measures for that pest. Also, if they wish to educate the growers they find they do not have extension materials to distribute to farmers. Farmers, in the absence of public sector diagnostic services, must rely on the services of pesticide salesmen for pest identification and control recommendations. This is problematic since pesticide dealers' recommendations are biased toward recommending pesticides as the only control alternative. The quality of information is often poor and leads to overuse of pesticides.
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