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News Date : 16 January, 2024


Garmonyou Aloysius Sam is one of BUAN's international post graduate student. He comes from Liberia. He is studying PhD in Crop Science (Crop Protection Stream) at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. His supervisors are Prof. Bamphithi Tiroesele and Prof. Adebayo A. Omoloye. He is currently carrying out a research project titled ‘Bioecology and Management of Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera Frugiperda) in Botswana’.

The FAW (Fall Armyworm) for the first time arrived and was officially confirmed in Botswana in 2017 (CABI, 2019). According to CABI, 2019, the pest is present in all regions of Botswana, where maize is cultivated. Since 2017, the FAW has become a significant pest in Botswana, notably for maize growers. For example, a severe damage impact on maize was reported by Makale et al., (2022) compared to sorghum. For this reason, most farmers rely on the use of assorted synthetic insecticides, some of which include (Deltamethrin, Cypermethrin, Chlorpyrifos, etc.) as an exclusive option for its containment. Farmers have expressed dissatisfaction regarding the inability of these insecticides against FAW. This could be due to lack of knowledge on FAW early identification, its biology (lifecycle) and feeding behavior, as well as overuse and improper application.

A baseline study (survey) was done in six districts of Botswana to assess farmers’ knowledge, attitude, and practices of FAW management in order to inform research decisions for its sustainable control. The project comprises of five studies which will be carried out separately in order to ascertain a holistic answer to the research questions. One of the studies which is “To Evaluate the Efficacies of Selected Synthetic Insecticides and Entomapathogenic Insecticides against FAW under Laboratory and Field Conditions” is currently on going. The experiment started in October 2023 and is expected to end in February, 2024.

The experimental site is located in BUAN Garden in Selebe. Seed-Co (SC 506), a hybrid maize variety from Seed-Co is used in the study. The experiment is a 6 x 3 Factorial Design laid in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) replicated three times. Insecticide and Control is the main plot (Factor A) and Concentration is the subplot (Factor B). The size of the field is 819m2. The field is divided into three blocks of 64m x 3m (192 m2) each with a spacing of 2m between blocks. The blocks are sub-divided into plots of 3m x 3m (9m2) with spacing of 1m between plots. Each block contains 16 experimental plots, making it a total of 48 plots. Each plot contains five rows at a spacing of 0.75 m between rows with 10 plants on each row at a spacing of 0.3 m between plants, making it 50 maize plants per plot. The plots are drip-irrigated, and all other recommended agronomic practices, such as fertilizer application, weeding etc. are carried out. The study comprises of five insecticide-treatments, including two synthetic insecticides (Cyperfos, which is a combination of Chlorpyrifos 450 g/l and Cypermethrin 50 g/l and Ampligo, which is a combination of Chlorantraniliprole 100 g/l and lambda-cyhalothrin 50 g/l) and three entomopathogenic insecticides (Beauveria bassiana [2x109 spores/gram], Bacillus thuringiensis [Var Kurstaki Strain ABTS-351], and Nucleopolyhedrovirus-NPV [HearNPV 7.5x1012 Occlusion body/litre]) and one control. Each of the insecticides has three concentrations (Conc 1: Below recommended, Conc 2: Recommended and Conc 3: Above recommended), making it a total of 15 concentrations and a control. Each concentration is diluted with 1 litre of clean water and applied. The control plot is sprayed only with clean water of equal volume. Except for the insecticides used in the study, no other insecticide was applied. All treatments are applied at fourteen-day intervals beginning 25 Days After Planting (DAP) and repeated at 39 and 53 DAP. For each insecticide including control, a separate knapsack sprayer is used to avoid the combined effects of active ingredients.

Sam worked tirelessly since the beginning of the experiment and during the December 2023 holidays to ensure the project bares the expected results. The following  are the expectations of the study

The study will avail data that would credibly influence government policy decisions to strengthen pest management programs; Contribute to the critical crop protection needs of maize farmers; Highlight areas farmers struggle to recognize the FAW and negate misconceptions; Utilize novel management techniques; Develop compatible IPM-strategies under small-scale holdings; Farmers' choice of insecticide and dosage application will be enhanced.

All the best in your research Sam!!

Look out for his findings in the not-so-distant future.