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Insect pest management and socio-economic circumstances of small-scale farmers for food crop production in western kenya: A case study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2011

K.N. Saxena
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
A. Pala Okeyo
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
K.V. Seshu Reddy
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
E.O. Omolo
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
L. Ngode
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), P.O. Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya
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Sorghum, maize and cowpea serve as staple food for people in Africa and are grown mostly by small-scale farmers. A major constraint on the production of these crops is attack by insect pests among which crop borers are most important, causing 30–80% yield losses. Use of pesticides to control these pests is hazardous and not feasible for the farmers. Alternative strategies for the integrated pest management (IPM) are being developed at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and include the following components: (1) Intercropping and other cultural practices, (2) Plant resistance to insect pests, and (3) Biological control. These IPM components have now been developed to a stage where they can be taken for on-farm trials under farmers' management for subsequent use by them. But, adoption and diffusion of agricultural innovations requires a prior knowledge of the farming systems and the socio-economic circumstances in which the target farmers operate, and their bearing on the use of innovations. Information on these aspects has therefore been obtained through a survey of farming households in Kendu Bay and Oyugis Divisions in western Kenya during April—August 1986. The survey was conducted jointly with UNECA and Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya, under a project funded by the Royal Government of Belgium.

The survey involved interview with 150 farmers, (75 in each Division. In Kendu Bay 27 were men and 48 women whereas in Oyugis 40 were men and 35 women.) and was based on a questionnaire which comprised six sections. Five sections covered the farmers' background, farming practices, pest problems and their control, socio-economic conditions, and accessibility/willingness of the farmers to participate in the project. The last section included field observations on the insect pests of sorghum, maize and cowpea.

On the basis of the information obtained on above-mentioned aspects, criteria were defined and assigned appropriate weigh tage for selecting 25 farmers in each Division for on-farm trials. The selected farmers included 12 men and 13 women in Kendu Bay while in Oyugis 13 men and 12 women were selected.

The measures that need to be taken to counter these limitations and thereby assist the farmers in increasing food production have been recommended.


Le mil, le mais et les pois sont des aliments de base pour tes africains et sont cultivés par des petits paysans. La majeure constrainte pour la production de ces cultures est l'attaque courante par les ravageurs, particulierement les rongeurs qui a eux seuls causent une reduction du rendemententre 30 a 80%. L'utilisation des insecticides est un probleme et presque impossible pour les paysans. Des strategies pour la gestion integrée de la lutte contres les ravageurs (IPM) sont entrain d'être develloppées à l'ICIPE. Ces strategies comprennent: 1) la combinaison des cultures et autres pratiques culturales; 2) la resistance des plantes contre les ravageurs et 3) la lutte biologique. Ces composantes de la gestion integrée contre les ravageurs furent devellopper jusqu'à un stage ou elles peuvent être mise en application par les paysans. Il est à noter que l'adaptation et la diffusion des decouvertes dans le domaine agricole necessitent à priori des connaissances de base sur les pratiques culturales et les conditions soclo-economiques dans lesquelles opèrent les paysans. Cet aspect du probleme a èté evalué chez les paysans à Kendu Bay et Oyugi à l'ouest du Kenya entre Avril et Août 1986. Le projet fut conjointement conduit par la CEA et le ministere de l'agriculture du Kenya grâce à un financement du Rayaume de Belgique. 150 paysans (75 de chaque village; 27 hommes et 48 femmes de Kendu Bay ainsi que 40 hommes et 35 femmes de Oyugis) ont accepte de repondre aux questions posées pendant cette etude. L'etude comprennait un questionnaire qui avait six sections. Cinq de ces sections couvraient l'historique des paysans, leurs pratiques culturales, les problemes de ravageurs et leur controle, les conditions socio-economiques et l'accord des paysans pour participer au projet. La sixième section couvrait les observations faites sur les ravageurs du sorgho, maïs et du pois. Sur la base des informations obtenues grâce aux critères cités ci dessus, une selection de 25 paysans dans chaque village (12 hommes et 13 femmes de Kendu Bay ansi que 13 hommes et 12 femmes de Oyugi) a èté faite pour une experimentation sur le terrain. Les mesures qui doivent être prises en consideration pour resoudre ces problemes et assister les paysans à augmenter leur production alimentaire ont èté proposé.

Research Articles
Copyright © ICIPE 1989

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