Minggu, 14 Juni 2009

Sugar-water to Attract Natural Enemies Maize Pest in Honduras Farmers

Recently in Honduras, a validations study was conducted to determine if sugars solution applied to maize(Zea mays L) would attract natural enemies of key pest Spodoptera frugiperda Smith( Cans an O Neil, 1998). Using a sugar as a conservation techniques has been reported in a number a scientific journals and has been tried in the USA in Lucerne and some vegetable system. However the idea for using sugar solutions in Honduran maize did not arise from a scientific journal, but rather from a farmer who had invented a new (to her) technology of pest control. The pathway from farmers invention to testing by universities scientist, to extension, to other farmes was predicated on a simple . yet profound idea. That idea, that framers, like rest of us, experiment with familiar to gain insight on what they don’t know wsa used as the basis for IPM program in Honduras. In Brief, field study by crop protection specialist and anthropologist, JW Bentley , at Zamorano College in Hondureas identified critical gaps in farmer understanding and use of IPM in subsistence crops (maize and beans). A key finding was that formers did not appreciate the role of natural enemies(primarily ants, social wasp and parasitism) and thus were not manipulation their practices to conserve natural enemies. A workshop was develop and offered to framers who participated in a number of role playing exercises(on pest and natural enemy biology) , field studies (seeing social wasps attacking pests) and discussions (classroom presentations were minimized) our farmer attended one of these work shops, which resulted in her inventions of using sugar –water to attract natural enemies(other workshop farmers also invented this and other control technology). It is important to note that farmers were taught that ant eat pest and not:use sugar water to attract ant to control pest.Our inventive farmer took what she know, that ants like sugars(she worned a small store whre ants were pests of sweet products she sold) ants added it to what she learned, that ants are predators, she the began to experiment with using sugar water in he milpa(small production plot), which lead ti the validation work cited above. The repeated inventions of this technology by workshop participant and the validation study by Canas and Oneil (1998) led to the extension of this technology to thousand of framers in Honduras. Farmer innovation can be powerful mechanism in conservation biological control and programs that directly involve farmers in the development and testings of practices should increase the adoption and spread of this technology(Stoll, 2000).