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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ipm in Sweetpotato: Caribbean Regionalization

Author
item Jackson, David

Submitted to: Caribbean Agricultural Technology Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2000
Publication Date: December 1, 2000
Citation: Jackson, D.M. 2000. IPM in sweetpotato: Caribbean Regionalization. Pages 37-38 in Summary Report of the Caribbean Agricultural Technology Conference (CATC), August 14-18, 2000, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and August 21-25, 2000, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tabago. Published by The Caribbean Agricultural Science and Technology Network Sysem (PROCICARIBE) with the assistance of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-Operation, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 78 pages.

Interpretive Summary: Over 95% of sweetpotato production is in developing nations, where sweetpotato is often a subsistence crop that offers security during times of potential famine. Insect pests can best be controlled through integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. The sweetpotato weevil is the most important pest species worldwide. The sweetpotato leaf beetle, West Indian sweetpotato weevil, wireworms, cucumber beetles, white grubs, flea beetles and various foliar pests also occur. The components of a sweetpotato IPM program were developed in Jamaica, where a 2-3-fold reduction in pest damage was seen. Sweetpotato IPM emphasizes good land preparation, irrigation, drainage, crop rotation, field sanitation, and selection of clean cuttings. Soil should be kept damp to prevent cracking and hilled around plants so that roots are not exposed. Harvest should be prompt, and piecemeal harvesting is discouraged. Old plants and roots should be destroyed. Various biological control measures may also be employed, including the use of traps for weevils. Resistant varieties should be planted when available. Insecticides should be used only when necessary. Regional differences, policy issues, regulatory considerations, and economics must also be considered. Pest problems vary from island to island in the Caribbean, so regionalization of IPM technology should be tailored to meet special local needs. IPM implementation depends on efficient distribution of information using books, information bulletins, fact sheets, and internet services. Demonstration plots and farmer-participatory workshops are also useful.

Technical Abstract: In developing nations, sweetpotato is often a subsistence crop that offers food security during famines. Insect pests of sweetpotato are best handled by integrated pest management (IPM). Sweetpotato weevil is the most important pest worldwide. West Indian sweetpotato weevil, sweetpotato leaf beetle, wireworms, cucumber beetles, white grubs, flea beetles, and foliar pests also occur. A sweetpotato IPM program was developed in Jamaica, where a 2-3-fold reduction in pest damage was seen. Sweetpotato IPM emphasizes cultural controls such as good land preparation, irrigation, drainage, crop rotation, field sanitation, and selection of clean cuttings. Soil should be kept damp to prevent cracking and hilled around plants so roots are not exposed. Harvest should be prompt, and piecemeal harvesting is discouraged. Old plants and roots should be destroyed. Biological control measures may also be employed. Pheromone traps for weevils and resistant varieties should be used when available. Insecticides should be used only when necessary. Development, evaluation, and implementation of an IPM program should involve a baseline survey, technology transfer, and impact assessment phases. Regional tastes and production practices, policy issues, regulations, and economics must also be considered. Pest problems vary, so regionalization of IPM should be tailored to meet special local needs. IPM implementation depends on efficient distribution of information using books, information bulletins, fact sheets, and internet services. Demonstration plots and farmer- participatory workshops are also useful. Regional expertise needs include biological studies of pests, pest risk analyses, development of information systems, GIS applications, and training of experts in IPM.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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