Affordable, environmentally-friendly pest management developed in India and Bangladesh to protect the region’s popular eggplant crop has reduced dependence by poor farmers on harmful pesticides, increasing profits and influencing policy to benefit businesses and spread the message.
Eggplant, one of the few affordable and nutritious vegetables available year-round in South Asia, is vulnerable to attack from the destructive eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB). Integrated pest management (IPM) options were investigated by the World Vegetable Center with partner organisations in India and Bangladesh to reduce costly and intense use of hazardous pesticides by developing female moth-borne sex pheromone lures and traps to kill male borer moths. The technology has been combined with other pest management techniques, including healthy seedling production; prompt removal and destruction of infested shoots and fruits at regular intervals; and withholding of chemical pesticides to encourage natural enemies. As a result, pesticide use has dropped by up to 75%, reducing production costs and increasing incomes. Commercialisation by small and medium enterprises in India, which advertised the affordable lures, has resulted in farmer uptake beyond the project area. Since 2009, Bangladesh’s parliament has been in the process of passing a law to facilitate registration and use of sex pheromones for pest control.
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