From March 28 to April 6, 2016, members from two IPM Innovation Lab teams traveled to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania for the first planning meetings of the “Vegetable IPM for East Africa” and “Grains IPM for East Africa” projects. These are two of eight projects from Virginia Tech’s USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab focused on finding solutions to agricultural pest problems in developing countries around the world.
The meetings were attended by the Principal Investigators for both projects, John Cardina of Ohio State University for the vegetable IPM project, and Tadele Tefera of International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology for the grains IPM project. Muni Muniappan, the director of the IPM Innovation Lab, was also in attendance along with collaborators, partners, and stakeholders.
By holding these meetings during the same period of time, the PIs of both projects were able to meet and could share their unique knowledge to help one another’s projects.
“Collaboration between the projects is very important,” Muniappan said. “Everyone involved has their own area of expertise, so it is extremely beneficial to both projects when these specialists can share their knowledge with one another.”
The vegetable project focuses on cabbage, French bean, tomato, onion, and chili pepper. The planning meetings for this project were held individually in each of the three East African countries.
In Kenya, Muniappan, Cardina, Celeste Welty of Ohio State Univeristy, and George Norton project from Virginia Tech who is also the PI of the Asia Vegetable IPM project, met with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the Kandara Horticulture Center. Tefera and Brhane Gebrekidan, the Africa Program Manager, also joined in on rese meetings. They also met with members of the Kenya Agricultural Value Chains Enterprises Project (KAVES), who indicated their willingness to collaborate with both the IPM Innovation Lab projects in Kenya.
In Tanzania, the team visited the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Station and met with Tom Carr of the NAFAKA value chain project. He expressed his willingness to work with the Grains IPM project. Members from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, along with TAHA Horti Tengru programs attended this meeting, as did Dr. Elizabeth Maeda of the USAID mission.
The core team then traveled to Hawassa University in Ethiopia for the vegetable project planning meeting there. Afterwards, the grains team went on to Addis Ababa to conduct the grains planning meeting.
The grains project focuses on maize and rice in Tanzania, maize and chickpea in Ethiopia, and maize in Kenya. For that project, only one planning meeting was held in Ethiopia, with representatives from Tanzania and Kenya in attendance, including Dr. Tracy Powell of the USAID mission.
The meeting participants focused on the different pests for each grain and some of the integrated pest management discussed for combatting these pests, such as using Trichoderma and pheromone traps. Scientists were identified for development of technologies to tackle those problems.