Mike A. Rutherford, Noah Phiri
Over the last two decades the level of coffee production has gradually increased, largely due to liberalisation of markets, while the price of coffee on the world market has declined and has become more prone to fluctuations. This has implications for those involved in the coffee commodity chain, including coffee farmers who still endeavour to produce a crop of acceptable quantity and quality but for reduced economic returns. Under such conditions farmers find it increasingly difficult to acquire those resources required for good crop management. Achieving satisfactory control of prevailing pests and diseases, one of many factors that producers must take into consideration, becomes increasingly difficult.
Where possible, an integrated approach to pest and disease management (IPM), involving use of a combination of cultural, biological and/or chemical measures should be considered and followed. Such an approach has advantages in terms of, for example: avoiding or minimising use of chemical pesticides that are often costly and also damaging to other organisms, man and the environment; promoting crop growth and vigour, thereby helping plants to tolerate pest damage and fight off infections; and helping to maintain biodiversity and utilise natural organisms against those organisms responsible for pest and disease outbreaks. For each pest and disease included in the manual, the various management measures known are addressed in order to facilitate development of an IPM approach. Where appropriate, control measures recommended in eastern Africa are incorporated, along with measures applied elsewhere that may be applicable to the region. Some information is also provided on possibilities for management that may currently be under investigation but show some promise.