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15 November 2016
In an ongoing research project, a team of scientists from Koppert Kenya, Kenyatta University and Koppert BV are collaborating to develop sustainable solutions to combat two threats facing tomato production: Tuta absoluta and the Fusarium wilt-nematode complex. The three-year project was launched in 2015 and is funded by NWO-WOTRO Applied Research Fund (ARF).
Tomato is the second most important vegetable crop in terms of production and value. However, for the past few years farmers of this crop have been facing serious challenges with Tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) and Fusarium wilt-root-knot nematode complex. Farmers realize devastating crop losses due to this insect pest and disease complex. In view of this, the collaborative project was initiated to provide farmers with a host of sustainable and reliable pest control solutions.
The project started with an inception workshop in September 2015 that brought together different stakeholders from the agricultural industry including scholars, researchers, extension practitioners, private sector players, government organisations, NGOs and other development partners. This provided a platform for consultative discussion on the goal, objectives and activities of the project before implementation. The first year of this project is complete. The objectives for this first phase were to establish and document the current status of Tuta absoluta and fusarium wilt-nematode complex through a baseline survey, then use these findings to develop and validate IPM packages for management of the target pests.
So far, the project has successfully completed the baseline survey and the first season of on-farm trials to demonstrate effective IPM packages for pest management. The IPM packages that were tested include the use of monitoring (Delta traps and Pheromones) and mass trapping (Water traps, & Pheromones) strategies for Tuta absoluta; and use of NatuGro System for fusarium wilt-root-knot nematode complex. Additionally, farmers were trained on IPM strategies during field days and farm visits.
Certainly, the completion of the first year of the project brought to light various challenges and opportunities facing tomato production. Following this, Koppert Kenya intends to host a stakeholder workshop on 18th November 2016 to highlight the project achievements and update stakeholders on the current situation of pest management. This workshop will be an important milestone for the ARF project.
The workshop will be planned as an interactive event with breakout sessions on different topics, to allow stakeholders to give feedback on the first results and tools developed. We believe the ARF project provides a great opportunity to address food safety and security by promoting efficient use of inputs in a climate smart manner.