Muni’s Musings Winter 2017

Thank you for taking the time to read our winter installment of the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab newsletter. The last few months have included project planning meetings, invasive pest workshops, and even an international conference on climate change and biodiversity in Nepal.

Over the last few months, one of our main focuses has been the South American tomato leafminer pest, Tuta absoluta. The presence of this invasive pest was confirmed in Bangladesh and Nepal last spring. Given how quickly this pest is able to spread, we unfortunately predict it will get as far as Myanmar and Thailand by the end of 2017, and will move into Cambodia, one of our project countries, thereafter.

In order to prepare Cambodian farmers, the IPM Innovation Lab conducted two awareness workshops in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in November. Each of these workshops had over 60 participants including government officials, NGO representatives, and farmers.

We then led two more Tuta workshops in December, this time in Dhaka and Jessore, Bangladesh to aid stakeholders already dealing with the pest problem. These workshops were co-organized by USAID’s Value Chain project managed by DAI. You can read about both workshops in our trip report.

As this pest spreads, Virginia Tech’s Biocomplexity Institute, under a project managed by the IPM Innovation Lab, is working on modeling the spread of this pest around the world. This work will help us predict where the pest will go next, and give countries time to prepare for its arrival. The Feed the Future Newsletter highlighted this work in its February newsletter. We are also working with the Bureau of Food Security Environmental Officer of preparing a global Pesticide Evaluation Report & Safe Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) for Tuta absoluta.

The IPM Innovation Lab also led a symposium on the pest at the International Conference on Biodiversity, Climate Change Assessment, and Impacts on Livelihood in Kathmandu, Nepal. The conference took place from January 10-12, and besides organizing a symposium on Tuta absoluta, we participated in symposia on IPM and invasive species. The conference was inaugurated by Nepal’s president Bidya Devi Bhandari and I was honored to give one of three keynote addresses about the impact of climate change on Nepal and the world. Over 300 participants from the region and around the world attended this conference.

Our Vegetable and Mango IPM for Asia project held their annual planning meetings in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal in February. There were attended by our management entity, collaborators from the United States and all three project countries, and Virginia Tech’s Associate Vice President for International Affairs, Karl Markgraf. And our Associate Director Amer Fayad just returned from a trip to Senegal to attend the Feed the Future Innovation Labs West Africa Regional Partners Meeting.

And I’m proud to announce that myself and our Asia Program Manager, Short Heinrichs, recently edited a book on 20 years of IPM in the tropics, entitled “Integrated Pest Management of Tropical Vegetable Crops.” 

We have a lot happening in the coming months: we will hold project planning meetings in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and we are planning an awareness workshop on the Fall Armyworm pest. This pest is devastating to corn and is currently in South and West Africa. Our workshop will prepare our project partners in East Africa for its inevitable arrival.

Please read on to learn more about our work and feel free to contact us if you have questions, would like to collaborate, or just want to say hi.

Warm regards,



Muni’s Musings Winter 2017
Tagged on: