Pest and disease attack are the biggest problem local farmers in Nigeria face. Over 60% of the calls we receive in the office are complaints of either one bacterial disease, or fungal challenge, or pest attack. Pest and disease control in Agriculture (particularly vegetable farming) must me taught and more importantly, must be practiced by farmers and home gardeners if farming ventures would be profitable.
The urge to always reach out to an arsenal of inorganic weapons like insecticides and fungicides seem to always arise. We often encourage farmers and home garden owners to apply themselves to the GAPs (good agricultural practices) that would be shared in this blog post and thus, avoid the indiscrete use of inorganic pest and disease control products which produce undesirable results after a long time of use.
Healthy sustainable farming must be a key focus for farmers who attempt to manage pests and diseases. From long years of experience, we have discovered general principles that would aid local farmers in Nigeria and Africa to control pests and diseases in their farms. Check out the 10 things to do to get pests and diseases out of your farm.
- Use Disease Resistant Varieties – Farmers who desire to make a business from agriculture, must realize that compromise ought not be made with seeds and seedlings used in farm projects. Proper research should be made for disease resistant varieties.
- Feed Your Vegetables Well – Have you noticed that when a person eats well, he is less susceptible to diseases. Healthy eating provides defense walls in the body of humans, animals and plants that protect them against disease attacks. Feed your plants well. We have learnt not to underbudget for plant food. Apply manure before planting (at least 24 tons per acre of land) and supplement with organic and inorganic boosters.
- Implement Biosecurity Measures – At Thai Agro, we teach and implement some biosecurity measures that reduce the spread of disease and pest attack in our farms. For instance, farm tools should be kept clean and treated with alcohol before use; farmers need to use clean clothes, gloves, boots and other clothing etc.
- Practice Crop Rotation – Pests and disease vectors usually affect crops of same family. So, bacterial diseases that affect tomato crop would most probably affect pepper. The principle of crop rotation makes it difficult for diseases to spread, as crops of different families around the field.
- Use Silver Plated Mulching Films – Silver plated mulching films have been discovered to repel aphids, thrips and other disease vectors from the farm.
- Use Nets Around Your Farm – Keep the surroundings of your farm clean and use microscopic nets around your farm. Many insects can’t fly above 1 m height.
- Monitor Moisture Levels on Your Farm – Observe the wetness and dryness of your beds and keep them at optimal conditions. Try to keep foliage dry as much as you can.
- Cut the Affected Plants and Burn or Bury – Don’t uproot affected plants especially plants of bacterial or fungal problems. Cut them from their shoots and take them away from the farm for burning or burying. This practice reduces the spread of diseases.
- Use Pesticides Responsibly – Pesticides are available to be used in their recommended amounts periodically from 2-4 weeks of plant growth.
- Pray – Trust the First Farmer to take care of your business when you can’t.
There you go, the 10 laws of pest and disease control.