Farmer Knowledge of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in the Management of Vegetable Insect Pests in Zimbabwe

  •  Rumbidzai Katsaruware-Chapoto    
  •  Paramu L. Mafongoya    
  •  Augustine Gubba    


Farmer knowledge of insect pests’ risks in a changing climate is important in managing insect pests’ incidence. A total of 250 vegetable farmers from 5 wards in Zimbabwe were sampled using a semi-structured questionnaire to assess their knowledge on climate change risk, its impact on vegetable insects pests and management strategies to reduce the increased incidence of insect pests. Focus group discussions, key informant interviews and field observations were also used. Droughts and elevated temperatures were perceived to have the greatest impact on vegetable insect pests resulting in their increased incidence. Aphids, cutworms and whiteflies were identified among the major pests that have increased. The majority (53%) of the farmers cited high vegetable losses from insect pests attack. All the respondents (100%) revealed the use of chemical insecticides during production of vegetables. A higher proportion (60%) perceived effective control, 34% perceived reduced efficacy and 6% were not sure of effectiveness of chemical insecticides. Management strategies to cope with the increasing insect pests and diseases on vegetable production also included planting insect resistant cultivars, certified seeds, increased frequency of application of synthetic insecticides, insecticide mixtures, use of more hazardous chemical insecticides and increasing the rates of application resulting in insecticide overuse. There is need for government to facilitate development and adoption of Integrated Insect Pest Management (IIPM) and raise awareness on avoiding overdependence on chemical insecticides. Modelling tools that support adaptation planning needs to be developed to forecast climate change risk and the resultant incidence of insect pests.

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