Integrated pest management practices bring more than $12 billion to the developing world


The implementation of integrated pest management strategies is improving livelihoods and bringing billions of dollars in economic benefits to developing nations. That’s according to findings of a review published recently by Virginia Tech researchers George Norton, Muni Muniappan, and Jeff Alwang and researcher Menale Kassie from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya.

Together they document more than US$12 billion in economic benefits as a result of integrated pest management (IPM) application, which more than pays for all the funds spent globally on IPM.

The research is a compilation of case studies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean that contest the long-held assumption that IPM does not contribute substantial economic benefits to the developing world.

“The assumption that IPM, or ecological practices more generally, are not suitable for the developing country context stems from a lack of information,” said George Norton, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in an interview with the Augusta Free Press. “This study provides information to demonstrate that IPM can generate major economic benefits, especially when targeted at particular pests.”

Some of the program’s economic impacts are documented in the chapter’s case studies, including the program’s implementation of biocontrol to manage the papaya mealybug in India in 2014, which brought up to $1.4 billion in economic benefits to the country; biocontrol of the cassava mealybug in sub-Saharan Africa – $9 billion in economic benefits; biocontrol of the maize stemborer in Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia – $272 million; introduction of virus-resistant groundnuts in Uganda – $62 million; IPM for onion in the Philippines – $23.5 million; IPM for eggplant and cabbage in Bangladesh – $29 million.

The case studies also document impacts from IPM adoption such as increased yields, reduced poverty and pesticide costs, and environmental benefits. In 2018, for example, a case study in Kenya shows an IPM intercropping technique helped raise at least 75,000 people above the poverty line. In Ecuador, in 2016, IPM practices used for the citrus-flavored fruit naranjilla reduced deforestation costs by an estimated $3.67 million.



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