Ecological Limits And Management Practices Of Major Arthropod Pests Of Tomato In Kenya
Published: April, 2019
In Kenya, tomato is cultivated for home consumption, as a cash crop, and a source of vitamins. In recent years, the growth rate of tomato production in the country has increased. Yields, however, continue to remain low due to a myriad of constraints, including incidences of arthropod pests. This paper catalogues arthropod pests of tomato in Kenya, establishes the pests’ distribution patterns in relation to spatial and temporal dimensions and documents practices employed by farmers for their management. The study relies on plant health clinics as primary providers of data. Relationship between variables is proved using multinomial logistic regression. A diverse range of arthropod pests was found to hamper tomato production in Kenya. Tomato leaf miner, whiteflies, and spider mites emerged as the major threats to the sustainability of tomato production. Most of the arthropod pests reported were associated with upper and lower midland agro-ecological zones. The reverse, however, was true for upper highland zones. For the management of arthropod pests, essentially, the use of synthetic pesticides was the preferred practice by farmers. The study underscores the need to consider variations in arthropod pests’ risk, both spatially and temporally when designing their management strategies. Also, alternative management procedures to the use of highly hazardous pesticides and better assessments of potential profit-loss to a smallholder for application and non-application of highly hazardous pesticides are required.
Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.