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Integrated pest management of coffee for small-scale farmers in East Africa: needs and limitations

Published by:
Online Location
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk reduction/mitigation
B. T. Nyambo, D. M. Masaba and G. J. Hakiza
Integrated Pest Management Reviews

Coffee in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) is an important cash and export crop for small-scale farmers. The crop suffers heavy yield losses due to damage caused by a wide range of indigenous pests (insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds). Current recommended pest control measures include a combination of cultural, resistant/tolerant cultivars and the use of broad spectrum chemical pesticides. Chemical pesticides are far more popular at the farm level than any of the other recommended pest control measures. Coffee pest control strategies are often aimed at individual pests with little consideration of the implications for the total coffee pest complex and its agro-ecosystem. This unilateral approach has resulted in increased pest pressure on coffee and some of its companion crops, outbreak of new pests of coffee, development of pest strains resistant to the cheap and commonly available chemical pesticides, increased environmental problems, increased health risks to man and livestock and an overall increase in the costs of coffee production, thus forcing many farmers to neglect their coffee plantations. Measures to alleviate the above problems, particularly the high production costs, are needed to improve coffee production and increase the cash return to the small-scale farmer. Integrated pest management (IPM) offers the best prospects for solving the above problems. However, lack of national IPM policies, poor extension systems, inefficient research-extension-farmer linkage and the lack of a holistic approach will delay the development and implementation of appropriate, acceptable and sustainable IPM practices.