Control of invasive Liriomyza leafminer species and compliance with food safety standards by small scale snow pea farmers in Kenya
Gitonga, Zachary Maina
Okello, Julius Juma
Ritho, Cecilia Nyawira
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The Kenyan horticultural industry faces a new challenge following invasion by the quarantine Liriomyza leafminer species Liriomyza huidobrensis, Liriomyza sativae and Liriomyza trifolii which have recently become pests of economic importance. Controlling Liriomyza leafminers poses serious difficulties due to their biology and quarantine status. This paper examines farmers’ awareness of the pests and difficulties faced in controlling them. (1) A questionnaire survey showed that snow pea farmers in Kenya rely mainly on pesticides for control of invasive Liriomyza leafminers; (2) Sixty five percent of respondents perceived pesticides to be ineffective; (3) As a result, 74% of respondents increased the frequency of pesticide applications, 61% increased dose rates and 58% used broad-spectrum insecticides to avert damage by the pests; (4) Snow pea farmers who signed contracts with exporters and whose production practices were monitored for compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) used fewer control strategies; (5) These findings imply that the pest status of Liriomyza leafminers is likely to increase and snow pea production will significantly decrease in Central areas of Kenya unless an integrated leafminer management strategy is developed and farmers educated on methods of identifying them in their early stages of attack and use appropriate chemicals and application methods.