Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 2001
Publication Date: November 26, 2001
Citation: Jackson, D.M., J.R. Bohac, et al.. 2001. Integrated Pest Management of Sweetpotato in the Caribbean. Abstract BII-0-1 in Guide for Participants, Sweetpotato: Food and Health for the Future, an international symposium sponsored by the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHA), the International Potato Center (CIP), and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM), 26-29 November 2001, Lima, Peru. (abstract) Technical Abstract: Insect pests of sweetpotato are best controlled by integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. The sweetpotato weevil is the most important worldwide pest; however, in some Caribbean nations the West Indian sweetpotato weevil is the predominate species. Wireworms, cucumber beetles white grubs, flea beetles, sweetpotato leaf beetle, and various foliar pests also may occur. A sweetpotato IPM program, developed under the IPM CRSP and tested in Jamaica, demonstrated a 2-3-fold reduction in pest damage. This program emphasized cultural control techniques, such as good land preparation, irrigation, drainage, crop rotation, field sanitation, selection of clean cuttings, and prevention of root exposure by hilling plants, and keeping soil moist to prevent cracking. Harvest should be prompt, and piecemeal harvesting is discouraged. Old plant materials and alternate hosts should be destroyed. Various biological control measures, like pheromone traps for weevil monitoring and control, can be used. If available, resistant varieties should be planted. Insecticides should be used only when necessary. The development, evaluation, and implementation of an IPM program should involve a baseline survey, technology transfer, and impact assessment phases. Pest problems vary from island to island in the Caribbean, so regionalization of IPM technology should be tailored to meet special local needs. Differences in regional tastes and production practices, policy issues, regulatory considerations, and economics must also be considered. IPM implementation depends on efficient distribution of information using books, information bulletins, fact sheets, and internet services. Demonstration plots and farmer-participatory workshops are useful.