Regional Project: Latin America and the Caribbean

Ecuador | Guatemala | Honduras

A project that addresses pest management issues in Ecuador, Guatemala, and Honduras, contributing to economic stability, reforestation, and biodiversity

Country Profiles

The IPM Innovation Lab has a presence in three countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. These fact sheets provide an overview of the work we are doing in each country, including our research challenges and accomplishments.



This project addresses pest management issues for selected seasonal and perennial crops. It includes heterogenous inland and mountainous ecosystems with highly diverse human societies. In these settings, seasonal crops contribute to income and exports, help reduce poverty and food insecurity, and provide engines of growth for lagging regions.

Perennial crop production can bring economic stability to areas with fragile ecosystems, reduce soil erosion and deforestation, and contribute to biodiversity. Because perennials and seasonal crops are often produced in association with each other, they face complex pest problems that need to be addressed in an integrated fashion.

In Guatemala and Honduras, this project focuses on solanaceous and diversified highland vegetables and cucurbits; in Andean Ecuador, on potatoes, maize and Andean fruits. It involves a comprehensive participatory approach that builds on past successes, is multi-disciplinary, and improves environmental quality through reduced pesticide use and biodiversity monitoring.  One of the strengths of the project is its use of biological control techniques for the control of fungal and bacterial diseases and important insect pests.

Project achievements and highlights

  • Created an IPM package (a suite of techniques) for naranjilla, a solanaceous Andean fruit grown in Ecuador. This package includes grafting, field and plant sanitation, and alternative controls of insect pests.
  • Created a comprehensive IPM package for the main pests of potatoes including late blight, Andean potato weevil, and the Central American tuber moth. This package has been widely adopted in potato-growing regions of northern Ecuador and is currently being modified for pests faced by potato growers in central Ecuador.
  • Identified strategies for the control of major insect-vectored viruses in Central America.
  • Created biological controls for important pests of cacao.
  • Supported 21 students for long-term training in the project’s current phase (2009–2014).

Phase IV official project title

Science for Agricultural Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean


Principal Investigator

Jeffrey Alwang, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech


George W. Norton, Virginia Tech | Stephen Weller, Purdue University


United States: Sue Tolin, Virginia Tech | Paul Backman, Penn State University | Sarah Hamilton, University of Denver | Ricky E. Foster, Purdue University | Judith K. Brown, The University of Arizona

Ecuador: Victor Barrera, Ing., Jose Ochoa, Ing., and Patricio Gallegos, Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP)

Honduras: Hernan Espinoza, J. Mauricio Rivera C., and F. Javier Diaz, Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agropecuaria (FHIA) | Alfredo Rueda and Yordana Valenzuela (Gender Coordinator), Escuela Panamericana de Agricultura (Zamorano)

Guatemala: Margarita Palmieri, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala | Marco Arévalo, AGROEXPERTOS