Anything present where it is not supposed to be is considered a pest. In agriculture; they are insects, pathogens and weeds attacking crops and animals. They deprive them of useful resources through competition and transmit diseases. The most common pests that affect production include thrips, aphids, mites, whiteflies, fungi, bacteria, ticks, roundworm and flukes just to mention a few. They cause damages leading to massive yield reduction (up-to 100% loss) affecting the supply of food in the country. To avoid such cases, proper pest management comes at the heart of every production.
Management of pest starts with good agricultural practices (Early planting, proper land preparation, use of certified inputs at the right quantities, adequate sanitation plus timely harvesting). Farmers are advised to continuously scout for pests and diseases to enable early control when they are still at low levels to cause damage. When the populations rise, control strategies are put into place; biological and chemical being the most common control strategies used in Kenya.
Pesticides work through contact, respiration or stomach action used to protect, prevent and eradicate pests. They are applied as foliar sprays, fumigants or baits reducing their population when trapped. Specificity in their use is critical to enhance their efficiency e.g. use of insecticides to control insects and fungicides for fungi. It should not however be mixed with any other product unless a compatibility test is done.
High quality pesticides have no residual action; this help curb water and air pollution impacting positively on the environment. Polluted environment has for a long time affected human health leading to a reduction in active labor force and the environment at large.
A product is of high quality when it is free from pest damage (holes, scars and chemical residue on a fruit/vegetable). They have great market demand fetching higher prices compared to those with damages. This has seen improved income for most farmers as they are able to meet the market demand from the sale of their produce thanks to pesticide use.
Majority of farmers have reported improved production (up-to 100%) from the use of pesticides. This has seen an increase in quality food available in the country both for export and local consumption. The 100% production is attributed to reduced number of deaths, damages and residual effects as pesticides ensure pest population is maintained below economic threshold levels.
Most pesticides are packaged in bulk in the country providing convenience in pest management. Pest resistance to certain pesticides is now well managed by using a wide range of products with different modes of action. Farmers are now able to easily locate the products and their suppliers through http://shambaza.com/pest%20control.