Skeptics of integrated pest management have always existed, especially doubters of its effectiveness in the developing world where food insecurity is a daily struggle. But a new book edited by Virginia Tech entomologist Rangaswamy “Muni” Muniappan shows the vital role of environmentally friendly integrated pest management practices in feeding the world’s growing population.

The new book, "Integrated Pest Management of Tropical Vegetable Crops," documents 20 years of successful integrated pest management projects in tropical countries by the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management.

Muniappan directs the program, which is headquartered at Virginia Tech. He and fellow entomologist E.A. Heinrichs edited the book, which includes contributions from 42 authors.

“We feel that there are adequate examples of implementation of integrated pest management technologies in the developing world in this book to counter the skepticism that exists among some scientists,” Muniappan said. “The research in this book shows the unique approach toward integrated pest management that our program has helped disseminate, which works well in developing countries.”

The book includes chapters on management of virus diseases in tropical crops, the beneficial fungus Trichoderma and its potential for managing crop diseases, and food and environmental security in the tropics.

The Innovation Lab not only trains its partners in integrated pest management techniques and technologies, but it also provides budding scientists with experience in writing for publication. Three-quarters of the book’s authors are scientists from developing countries.

The book's chapters focus on the impact of the Innovation Lab in countries with USAID-funded projects, such as Bangladesh, Ecuador, Nepal, and Uganda. Contributors also include three faculty members from the College of Agriculture and Life SciencesJeffrey Alwang and George Norton from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Sue Tolin from the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science.

The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab has worked in developing countries around the world since 1993 teaching farmers and scientists how to employ nontoxic pesticide alternatives to tackle major agricultural pest problems.

The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab is a project of the Office of International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs.

Written by Stephanie Parker

Share this story