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Weather-Informed Recommendations for Pest and Disease Management in the Cashew Production Zone of Côte d’Ivoire

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Poorly informed pest and disease management strategies can have detrimental effects on the environment, crop quality, crop yield, farmers’ income, and the overall sustainability of agriculture. For this reason, integrated pest and disease management (IPDM) draws on knowledge from various research fields to effectively manage risks of bio-aggressor outbreaks. However, many agricultural sectors of Sub-Saharan African countries lack such necessary knowledge, including the epidemiology of bio-aggressors in relation to the increased climate variability. The objective of this work is to provide weather-based guidance for the development of sustainable pest and disease control strategies in cashew cultivation areas of Côte d’Ivoire, the second most important cash crop of the country. Leveraging the bioclimatic knowledge in the literature about fungi and insects, we explored four-year hourly data (2017–2020) of 34 sites of the cashew production zone. The outputs showed potentially conducive weather events for fungi and insects throughout the entire cashew production areas, with the forest–savanna transition zone being the most critical. These outputs were used to elicit recommendations for pest and disease management in consultation with a multidisciplinary stakeholder task force. They recommended that effort for disease prevention in the forest–savanna transition zone, the new cashew production zone, should be an incrementation of the one already recommended in the north savanna. Weather-based disease monitoring, entomopathogenic-fungi-based pest control, and the promotion of early-maturing cashew genotypes are also recommended, especially in the forest–savanna transition zone.

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