Eco-friendly nets to improve vegetable production and quality in sub-Saharan Africa
Continuous coverage of vegetables with nets under different climate conditions in Benin and Kenya proved effective in protecting vegetable nurseries and main fields against key lepidopteran and dipteran pests. However, netting did not effectively protect the vegetables against small insects such as aphids and whiteflies, although a visual barrier could delay outbreaks. Hence, opening the nets during the day could be an alternative option to conserve the natural enemies for small insects. Moreover, the efficacy of the visual barrier may be complemented by a repellent compound impregnated in the net. The small-holder growers adopting the nets in Benin and Kenya have reduced the number of pesticide applications required by 70-100%. They have also increased the yield in quality and quantity of production due to microclimate modification. Cost-benefit analyses of the technology showed that with insect proof nets profitability rates of up to three times could be achieved when compared to the farmers' practices observed in the real environment. Hence, this technology could be a promising way to develop an agro-ecological approach for sustainable management of key horticultural crop pests.
Martin, T., Simon, S., Parrot, L., Assogba Komlan, F., Vidogbena, F., Adegbidi, A., Baird, V., Saidi, M., Kasina, M., Wasilwa, L.A., Subramanian, S. and Ngouajio, M. (2015). Eco-friendly nets to improve vegetable production and quality in sub-Saharan Africa. Acta Hortic. 1105, 221-228
pests, insect nets, vegetables, IPM, small- holder farmers