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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334848

Research Project: Managing Insects in the Corn Agro-Ecosystem

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Cowpea field insect pests and integrated pest management techniques for cowpea cultivation in West Africa

item AGUNBIADE, TOLULOPE - Yale University
item SUN, WEILIN - Michigan State University
item Coates, Brad
item TRAORE, FOUSSENI - Institute Of Environmental And Agricultural Research - Burkina Faso (FORMERLY: UPPER VOLTA)
item OJO, JAMES - Kwara State University
item LUTOMIA, ANNA - University Of Illinois
item BRAVO, JULIA - University Of Illinois
item MIRESMAILLI, SABER - Innovative Soil Solutions
item HUESING, JOSEPH - Us Agency For International Development (USAID)
item TAMO, MANUELE - International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
item PITTENDRIGH, BARRY - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2016
Publication Date: 3/12/2018
Citation: Agunbiade TA, Sun W, Coates BS, Traore F, Odebayo J, Lutomia AN, Bello-Bravo J, Miresmailli S, Huesing J, Tamo M, Pittendrigh BR. 2018. Chapter 14. Insect pests and integrated pest management techniques in grain legume cultivation, In Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Grain Legumes Volume 1 (eds. Sivasankar S., Agrawal SK, Bergvinson D, Tamo M.). pgs 297-320. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. p. 1-24.

Interpretive Summary: Developing methods to control the damage pest insects inflict to crop plants and distributing those solutions to producers are critical for efforts to ensure food security worldwide. An approach is outlined which integrates genomics and ecological data to provide a systems-wide understanding of how insect populations interact with the agroecosystem, that is used in tandem with a novel tactics to distribute educational data to growers in developing nations. The book chapter outlines the aforementioned concepts along with providing case studies where success has been seen in West Africa, as well as challenges facing the application of this approach in a more wide-spread program. This information is useful to ARS and university scientists and administration interested in developing reactive research programs that address user needs and distributing research developments to stakeholders.

Technical Abstract: Cowpea is an important and major staple food crop in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the dry savanna regions of West Africa. The crop provides a cash crop for farmers, which increases the incomes of farmers and traders thereby reducing to poverty in the region. Cowpea grain has a high nutritive value and provides a major source of protein for the growing human populations of both rural and urban areas of West Africa. Additionally, vegetative tissue from cowpea plants provide fodder for livestock. However, cultivated cowpea is severely attacked by a complex of insect pests at every stage of its development from pre-flowering stage through storage. These pests include aphids, thrips, pod borers, and pod sucking bugs that are the cause of dramatic yield reductions is not effectively controlled. Current control measures against these insect pests are not without limitations. There is therefore an urgent need to develop a more comprehensive insect pest management (IPM) strategies by exploiting the knowledge of their biology, location of alternate host plants, and natural enemies, and enhancing these tactics by incorporating research that takes advantage of recent advances in nucleotide sequencing technologies. Adoption of new practices resulting from this research by end-users in the endogenous population are needed, and novel methods to share this information can be accomplished by bridging the wide gap between researchers and consumers such as farmers. To this end, the non-profit Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) uses cell phones to distribute media that educated farmers on the effective use of pest control tools, by way of freely downloadable videos that can be distributed from one farmer to another. This also allows farmers to identify and report emerging pests to extension agents. The research and education resources described here are enhancing food security and the welfare of people in West Africa.