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July 5th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Insect pests are a major cause of crop yield losses around the world and an important cause of food insecurity in developing countries. The development of effective policies to support more sustainable pest management requires a better understanding of the factors that determine farmers’ pest management decision making within the landscape, agronomic, socio-economic and biophysical contexts of farming systems.

Our recent study assesses the ecological, agronomic and socio-economic factors associated with farmer perceptions of the severity of pests in their field crops in Nigeria. The study comprised three agro-ecological zones (AEZs) spanning a 1,000 km North-South gradient, 102 villages and 805 households from 12 states.

In Nigeria, insect pests and plant diseases are major factors in reduced yields, threatening food security and farmers’ incomes. Nigeria’s agricultural sector has a relatively high insecticide use as compared to other African countries. Nigeria’s insecticide imports accounted for 11 percent of the total import value for the whole of Africa in 2011, FAO statistics show. Yet, despite a seven-fold increase in net pesticide imports from $31 million to $221 million between 1997 and 2012, progress on increasing cereal production (which is mainly used for domestic consumption) and per capita food supply has stagnated. Read more