Farmers' knowledge and perception of grain legume pests and their management in the Eastern province of Kenya

Abtew, A and Niassy, S and Affognon, H D and Subramanian, S and Kreiter, S and Garzia, G T and Martin, T (2016) Farmers' knowledge and perception of grain legume pests and their management in the Eastern province of Kenya. Crop Protection, 87. pp. 90-97. ISSN 02612194

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Grain legumes play an important role in community livelihood and in the national economy in Kenya. Unfortunately, in many African countries, production doesn't satisfy the demand in grains due to various constrains. Understanding farmers practices and behavior in the management of grain legume pests is a crucial step in the development of sustainable management strategies. A total of 216 farmers were surveyed in eight districts of eastern Kenya to evaluate farmers' knowledge and perceptions of grain legume pests; to examine current pest management practices, and to identify other production constraints. Grain legumes are grown by a wide age-group of farmers, with both genders equally represented. Chemical control remains the main pest management strategy, and, to ensure pesticide effectiveness, farmers also use increased application rates, chemical alternation, frequent application and mixtures of chemicals. While farmers used other control measures, they showed only limited interest in biological control. The majority of the farmers had experience in grain legume farming and were able to identify the major pests, which were the legume flower thrips Megalurothrips sjostedti Trybom, the cowpea aphid Aphis craccivora Koch and the legume pod borer Maruca vitrata Fabricius. Our survey revealed that education and proximity to extension services contributed significantly to farmers' knowledge of grain legume pests, suggesting the need to provide continuous training and capacity building on integrated pest management in grain legume farming. The study also suggests integration of other pest management strategies such as the use of early maturing varieties, biopesticides and biofertilizer to reduce the use of chemical for sustainable pest management.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Farmer attitudes; Extension services; Crop protection; Pest control methods; Pesticide mixtures; Grain legume pests
Subjects: Others > Agriculture
Others > Entomology
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 05:20
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2017 08:42
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We thank Benedict Orindi for statistical advice, Gladys Mosomtai for mapping the study areas and icipe field staff, the Government Ministry of Agriculture staff, farmers, and other stakeholders who support this study either directly or indirectly. This study was funded by the African Union through the African Union Research Grant Contract no: AURG/108/2012 to which we are grateful. Additional support was provided by the European Union under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate fellowship through Agricultural Transformation by Innovation (AgTraIn), Copenhagen.
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