Economic feasibility of an augmentative biological control industry in Niger

Guerci, M J and Norton, G W and Ba, M N and Baoua, I and Alwang, J and Amadou, L and Moumouni, O and Karimoune, L and Muniappan, R (2018) Economic feasibility of an augmentative biological control industry in Niger. Crop Protection (TSI), 110. pp. 34-40. ISSN 0261-2194

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Farmers in Niger are vulnerable to high millet yield losses due to the millet head miner, Heliocheilus albipunctella De Joannis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), for which pest control options are limited. Researchers have developed a procedure to multiply and spread an augmentative biological control agent Habrobracon hebetor Say (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) which is effective in limiting millet yield losses due to the pest. This study assesses the economic viability of small businesses to produce and sell biological control agents. It analyzes the profitability of the businesses under alternative pricing regimes given estimated costs to produce and distribute biological control agents. The economic assessment provides budget analysis for potential businesses and discusses options for scaling, price setting, and organizing. Our study suggests that the small H. hebetor industry should turn a profit in Niger at relatively low prices for the biological control agents of $3.00-$4.00 per bag with 15 bags needed per village. Competitive wages are achievable for the businesses that sell to at least 13 villages. Each business would hire three workers from late May to late August. Commercialization of H. hebetor would generate opportunities for wide geographic distribution of the technology on a sustainable basis in Niger.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biocontrol; Millet head miner; Business feasibility assessment; Niger; Millet yield; Commercialization; Economic viability; Small businesses; Millet head miner H albipunctella; Biological control; H hebetor
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Others > Pest Management
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Niger
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 04:57
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2018 05:00
Official URL:
Funders: USAID, Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab
Acknowledgement: Funding this research was provided by the United States Agency for International Development under Cooperative Agreement No. AIDOAA- A-13-00047 with the Kansas State University Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab (SMIL). The biocontrol practice examined in this study was developed in part with funding from the GIMEM (Integrated Management of Pearl Millet Head Miner) projects 09-036-039 and 14- 153 funded by the McKnight Foundation. Since 2014, these efforts have been strengthened through partnerships with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Virginia Tech. The authors thank Dan Taylor for helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this the paper. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or others.
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