strategy

Adapting indigenous pest control knowledge

Synonyms:
Expanding traditional integrated pest management programmes
Description:
Many centuries ago, farmers in China first tried the sensible idea of using natural predators to control crop pests.
Context:
An analysis of the scattered research conducted on indigenous knowledge about pest ecology and methods of pest control used in traditional agriculture suggested the following facts: (1) Traditional farmers are able to identify the main pest species affecting their crops and have local names for most of them; (2) In traditional agriculture the concept 'pest' is relative, since many organisms considered pests may also be important resources for food, medicines, rituals, [etc]; (3) Most farmers have some level of knowledge about the biology, life cycles, and food preferences of most pest species; (4) Most farmers are aware of the conditions that favor and/or discourage pest incidence; (5) Most farmers accept a level of presence of pests and therefore adjust to a certain degree of crop loss; (7) Traditional farmers utilize a variety of cultural, physical/mechanical and biological methods to directly control pests, or indirectly rely on the built-in pest control mechanisms inherent to their complex cropping systems. The ensemble of traditional crop protection practices used by indigenous farmers throughout the developing world represents a rich resource for modern workers seeking to create pest management systems that are well adapted to the agroecological, cultural and socioeconomic circumstances facing peasants.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Implementation:
The neem tree [Azadirachta indica] contains promising pest-control substances found effective against many economically important pests. These materials are easy to process by village-level industries and easy to use by limited-resource farmers, thereby offering potential for crop protection and off-farm income generation. The tree's numerous pharmacological and other complementary uses make it doubly attractive for incorporation in large-scale rural development efforts.

Nearly two thousand years ago, in the orange groves of China, farmers came up with a new way to deal with insect pests. Beetles, mites, and stinkbugs plagued their trees. Farmers would release ants among the trees, and the ants would dine on the uninvited guests. The farmers knew which species of ants to use - how to breed the ants - and the ideal time of year to put them to work.

Subjects:
Minority, indigenous groups
Pests
Folk traditions
Management
Control
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies