RIU-sponsored workshop advocates wider bio-pesticide use in West Africa
21 March 2012
Bio-pesticides and their role in modern pest managementin West & Central Africa were explored at a workshop
organised by the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kenyan Real IPM company in March 2012. The DFID-funded Research Into Use programme sponsored the event.
The workshop was designed to familiarise farmers, plant protection products dealers, researchers and regulatory authorities on the progress being made on bio-pesticides and opportunities for the future.
Delegates included representatives of Sahelian pesticides committee (CSP), the Central Africa Interstates Pesticides Committee (CPAC) and the Ivory Coast Ministry of Agriculture who were sponsored to attend by COLEACP-PIP
, who were also present at the meeting.
The event was an important opportunity to share results of recent bio-pesticides research in Ghana with other countries in the region. Central to the workshop were presentations by Henry Wainwright
of Real IPM
Kenya; John A Pwamang
of the Environmental Protection Agency
(the regulatory body) and Professor Ofuso Anim, University of Ghana
. The university previously undertook efficacy testing of the RIU-backed fungal and baculovirus-based.
|RIU supported bio-pesticides produced by the Real IPM Company (Kenya) Ltd and Kenya Biologics Ltd
|Baculoviruses (Kenya Biologics)
||for control of bollworms (Helicoverpaarmigera) and DBM (Plutellaxylostella)
|Trichoderma asperellum (Real IPM)
||a fungus for control of Phytophthora spp. in pineapple and black pod disease in cocoa
|Metarhizium anisopliae (Real IPM)
||a fungus for control of mealybug in papaya
COLEACP-PIP presented an overview of its current bio-pesticide-related activities. It is actively researching and developing a wider range of options that are safe for growers, consumers and the environment. Trends in the EU and international markets suggest that pressures may increase on growers to use integrated and alternative pest control strategies to ensure sustainable production and safe food, with minimal pesticides residues in fruit and vegetables both for export and local markets.
The workshop looked at the broader regulatory environment for bio-pesticides in West and Central Africa.
Registration of biopesticides in Ghana, Sahel,
and Central African countries was considered. This established the lack of bio-pesticide registrations in the region compared to conventional plant protection products.
And the workshop noted that bio-pesticides are increasingly important in agriculture and medical vector control, but distinct modes of action, performance, storage and use mean that a different approach is needed for registration and regulation compared to synthetic chemical counterparts.
Participants discussed the need to have systems in place to ensure that new and potentially valuable products are registered and made available to growers as rapidly and efficiently as possible.
Henry Wainwright of Real IPM, said:
"In our presentation we were able to tell the story of an all African affair. Bio-pesticides researched, developed, commercialised and used in Africa. This has been a great partnership between the public and private sectors involving agencies ICIPE, NRI and CABI with ourselves and our distributer Wienco.
This is not an overnight success story. There has been some 20 years of public support. This included support for the Environment Protection Agency in Ghana to development, in 2005, guidelines for the bio-pesticide registration. This was funded through the DFID Crop Protection Programme - which was the forerunner to Research Into Use.
We now have products approved for use in Ghana, which are being applied by large-scale producers. There is however much more potential for bio-pesticides. We need to overcome some the barriers to uptake - such as drivers for adoption, application, packaging and pricing. And the governments of the region may want to explore reciprocal arrangements for registration. But through the DFID RIU funded project we have made major strives towards the adoption and commercial exploitation of a much greener pest control approach. This is healthier for local consumption and may be a lifeline for keeping open European and international markets where crop residues are taken very seriously."
Recommendations for taking forward bio-pesticides taken from the workshop presentation by John A Pwamang
, Pesticides Registrar, Environment Protection Agency, Ghana:
- Establish lobby groups armed with detailed information on negative impacts of pesticides, which can be used to substantiate proposals and request for more funds to support integrated pest management (IPM), in order to reduce use of hazardous synthetic chemical pesticides.
- Diversify the sources of funds for IPM at national and district levels, through collection of levies from pesticide distributors and traders.
- Focus attention for developing IPM packages on key crops such as vegetables.
- Mainstream participatory approach in agricultural extension.
- Create general awareness on the benefits of IPM for all sectors of the community.
- Encourage organic production of fruits and vegetables and cocoa, for local consumption.
- Encourage production and distribution of biological agents and botanicals.
- Substantiate claims made by farmers that crops such as cassava, plantain, yam are produced organically by default.
- Generate information through research to support IPM packages, as well as linking the researchers directly with farmers and extension agents.