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Using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to manage pests on smallholder farms

The Fall Armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda Smith) is a pest native to the Americas. This hungry caterpillar feeds on different plants but prefers maize. Integrated Pest Management or IPM for short, is a combination of strategies that focusses on reducing the environment’s suitability for FAW increase. Agro-ecological approaches form the basis of IPM, creating unfavorable environmental conditions for FAW while promoting natural elements that regulate FAW populations. These tactics are designed to reduce the overall FAW populations and avoid outbreaks. IPM also involves scouting for pests so that farmers can make assessments of the need to take further action or not. If further action is deemed necessary, biological control or biological based pesticides (such as fungi or viruses that attack the pest) are preferred. Because of the risk they pose to natural enemies, and therefore future natural control of the pest, chemical pesticides are applied only as a last resort.

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