Identify, then control
Forty-seven farmers and village extension officers were taught how to identify Tuta absoluta and recognize the damage symptoms it causes compared with other types of leaf miners during a training session held by WorldVeg, Real IPM and A to Z on 25-26 May 2017 in Babati, Tanzania.
In a knowledge assessment before the training, the team discovered that participants could not easily identify insect pests or choose suitable controls. Many participants were unable to distinguish between diseases and pest damage symptoms.
Although their knowledge may have been lacking, their enthusiasm was boundless. All were curious to learn how to identify pest and disease damage, and to understand current pest and disease management options available in Tanzania and how to access them.
During field surveys and practical sessions, all participants were actively engaged in the identification of insect pests on vegetable crops grown in Matufa village. After just one hour in the field, participants were able to recognize some seasonal pests and the damage they cause in different vegetable crops including tomato, sweet pepper, amaranth, Ethiopian mustard, nightshade, eggplant and spider plant.
Never Zekeya from WorldVeg and Gideon Ringo of the Real IPM Company demonstrated the use of sticky traps, and also showcased net materials from the A to Z Company. Participants could see how well the traps captured pests in the field, and indicated they were ready to adopt traps for pest control if the price for traps was affordable. Participants were also interested in microbial technology to control pests through drenching by inoculating fungal spores in roots of tomato seedlings and sweet pepper.
After the training, village extension officers and farmers were able to identify common pests and diseases of vegetables from their respective areas and were able to suggest appropriate control measures. Many were happy to learn about new technologies available in their region for production of safe vegetables.
Story and photos: Never Zekeya