Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Jackson, David - Mike
item Bohac, Janice
item Dalip, K.
item Lawrence, J.
item Clarke-harris, D.
item Mccomie, L.
item Gore, J.
item Mcglashan, D.
item Chung, P
item Edwards, S.

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2002
Publication Date: 3/1/2002
Citation: Jackson, D.M.; Bohac, Janice; Dalip, K.M.; Lawrence, J.; Clarke-Harris, D.; McComie, L.; Gore, J.; McGlashan, D.; Chung, P.; Edwards S. et. al 2002. Integrated Pest Management of Sweetpotato in the Caribbean. Pages 143-154. In: T. ames (ed.), Proceedings of the First International Coference on Sweetpotato Food and Health for the Future, 26-30 Nov., 2001, Lima, Peru. Acta Horticulturae No. 583, 244 pages.

Interpretive Summary: Soil insect pests are one of the most important production problems of sweetpotatoes in the Caribbean. The sweetpotato weevil is the most important pest species worldwide, but the sweetpotato leaf beetle, West Indian sweetpotato weevil, wireworms, cucumber beetles, white grubs, flea beetles, and various foliar pests also occur. Insect pests of sweetpotatoes scan best be controlled through integrated pest management (IPM) approaches but these programs need refinement and adaptation to individual nations in the Caribbean. Therefore, the components of a sweetpotato IPM program were developed and tested in the United States and Caribbean, and an IPM package was implemented in Jamaica. The Jamaican IPM model emphasized a combination of cultural, biological, and chemical methodologies. Proper land preparation, irrigation, drainage, crop rotation, field sanitation, selection of clean cuttings, hilling of soil, and prompt harvest, were important cultural recommendations. Biological measures recommended included use of resistant cultivars and pheromone traps for weevils. Regional differences, policy issues, regulatory considerations, and economics were also considered before implementing the IPM package. A 2-3-fold reduction in pest damage was seen by growers who practiced the recommended sweetpotato IPM program. This IPM model is now being successfully adapted for use in the eastern Caribbean.

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 predominant species. Wireworms, cucumber beetles, white grubs, flea beetles, and various foliar pests also may occur. An emerging pest in Jamaica is the sweetpotato leaf beetle. A sweetpotato IPM program, developed under 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 lcontrol 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.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page