The IPM TC which was established in 2018 with the objective of strengthening and promoting IPM in commercial horticultural crop production for profitability and sustainability of the sector, held a meeting on 20 December 2019 at the EHPEA meeting hall. On the discussion mainly focused on the challenges of implementing IPM technologies (with emphasis on Biological pest management in Ethiopia) and forwarded recommendation for possible solutions.
Dr. Ferdu Azerefegn, a senior entomologist at Hawassa University College of Agriculture presented the general concepts of IPM and its development worldwide. He then discussed the major challenges and constraints of implementing and practicing IPM in the world in general and in Ethiopia in particular. Some of the key challenges narrated by Dr Ferdu were; Lack of consensus on the concepts and practices of IPM, Limited/poor commitment of stakeholders (government bodies, farms, etc), Lack of awareness and deficiency in IPM knowledge by actors ,Wrong perception of producers with regard to profitability of IPM technologies, Fear of IPM risks and uncertainty, Present bias and procrastination because of slow acting nature of IPM when compared with pesticides which results in an immediate results without delay of crops damage, Endowment effect due to investment on pesticides tools and equipments ,Menu effect by making standard decision with limited understanding of the crop-pest-environment interactions, Lack of dedicated research and government institutions supporting the sector, Poor integration among actors, Lack of policy support, Lack of information relay among extension agents, Farmers and researchers, Strong promotional works by chemical companies and support to them by governments, Limited availability of IPM technologies, Limited dissemination of IPM technologies are among them.
Further he also put the way forward on the need for continuous training to upgrade the knowledge and skill of actors at different levels, IPM technologies generation, establishment of service (support) providing institutions for the sector, engaging policy makers at all levels of the supply chain, establishment of registration procedures that works for bio-agents, enacting laws-regulations-directives-rules, etc.
Following his presentation, participants further discussed on the challenges and forwarded possible solutions that need to be address by concerned government bodies especially Ministry of Agriculture, Research and higher learning institutions and EHPEA.
The Committee member concluded their meeting by reflecting recommendations that the government bodies especially the Ministry of Agriculture should play an active role in promoting IPM technologies and controlling the use of banned pesticides in the horticulture sector (especially on the commercial horticulture farms), the higher institutions training students in horticulture, should revise their curriculum and education methodologies by giving more emphasis on providing practical skills to their students and organize more experience sharing and exposure visits to commercial horticulture farms.
It was also suggested that EHPEA should continue to receive more students for the internship program and support higher institutions to get up to date information on new technologies. EHPEA Program Manager, Mr. Sisay Gebre Egziabher, on his closing remarks he stated that EHPEA will continue to provide its support for the application of IPM technologies in the horticulture sector and would like to play a proactive role for the development of the sector.