UIUC-1

UIUC-1, Biological Foundations for Management of Field Insect Pests of Cowpea in Africa.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as lead university           

Biological Foundations for Management of Field Insect Pests of Cowpea in Africa

U.S. PIs & Institutions and Collaborating Host Countries

Lead U.S.:
Barry Pittendrigh Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Ibrahim Baoua, INRAN, Niger
Clèmentine Dabiré, INERA, Burkina Faso
Mohammad Ishiyaku, IAR, Nigeria
Jeremy McNiel, UWO, Canada
David Onstad, UIUC, U.S.
Larry Murdock, Purdue, U.S.
William Muir, Purdue, U.S.
Joseph Huesing, Monsanto, U.S.
Niang Malick Ba, INERA, Burkina Faso
Julia Bello, UIUC, U.S.
Manuele Tamò, IITA,  Benin
Mamadou N'Diaye, IER, Mali
Dr. Madhu Viswanathan, UIUC, U.S.
George Czapar, UIUC, U.S.

Objectives:           

  1. Characterizing the life-history patterns and wild alternative hosts of the coreid pod sucking-bugs, Clavigralla tomentosicollis Stal and Anoplocnemis curvipes (F.); the groundnut aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch; and, thrips, Megalurothrips sjostedti Trybom and Sericothrips occipitalis Hood. This objective will lay the foundation for the field knowledge that we will need to develop Integrated Pest Management-omics (IPM-omics) strategies for these aforementioned five pest species.
  2. Characterizing the life-history patterns and wild alternative hosts of the coreid pod sucking-bugs, Clavigralla tomentosicollis Stal and Anoplocnemis curvipes (F.); the groundnut aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch; and, thrips, Megalurothrips sjostedti Trybom and Sericothrips occipitalis Hood. This objective will lay the foundation for the field knowledge that we will need to develop Integrated Pest Management-omics (IPM-omics) strategies for these aforementioned five pest species.  
  3. Development and deployment of extension materials for IPM of pests of cowpeas.
  4. Build capacity at host country institutions for the rearing and mass release of bio-control agents that are currently ready for release (Objective 1 for the "Implementation of a Comprehensive Bio-Control Program for the Management of Economically Important Insect Pests on Cowpea in West Africa – Technology Dissemination Project UIUC West Africa").
  5. Collections of biological control agents for sequencing and development and of IPM-omics tools.
  6. Increase the capacity, effectiveness and sustainability of agricultural research institutions, in order to serve the bean and cowpea sectors in Burkina Faso, Niger, and northern Nigeria. We will perform degree and non-degree training in order to build institutional capacity. We will also perform farmer field schools in order to develop the capacity for the eventual deployment of novel pest control strategies. Within the current funding cycle the main goal is to train farmers in the basic biology of the insect pests.  

Problem Statement:


Field and storage insect pests are the most severe biotic constraints for cowpea production. Insect-resistant cultivars have the potential to resolve some of the pest problems like root-knot nematode. However, the lack of cultivars that resist major insect pests like legume pod borer, bruchids, and pod sucking bugs cannot be filled by conventional breeding because attempts to find genes conferring resistance in the cowpea genome to these pests have failed so far. Thus, farmers often resort to the use (and misuse) of neurotoxic pesticides to control cowpea insect pests in some cases with dire consequences to their health, the health of their families, and the end users that purchase the cowpeas. Thus, there is a need to develop alternative strategies for control of the insect pests of cowpea, in order to reduce the levels of pesticides used on cowpea crops.

Target Outputs:

  • We expect to create the foundational knowledge necessary for the development of an IPM program for the pests of cowpea. This will allow for the targeted deployment of biological control agents in the host countries, into areas most likely to impact pest populations.
  • We will (i) increase the extension capacity of our host country scientists in Niger and Burkina Faso and (ii) develop and deploy a repertoire of extension materials for the control of pests of cowpeas in our host countries.
  • We expect to have successful biological control agents deployed in the field in test regions of Benin, Niger, and Burkina Faso. As part of this project we will also develop the molecular tools necessary to monitor the biological control agents as they are established in the field. This will allow us to verify the success of our various deployment operations (i.e., do they come from the populations we released?) and potentially determine if certain genotypes are more effective than others in establishing themselves in the environment. As part of our capacity building we expect our HC collaborators to develop the ability to rear and deploy biological control agents. They will also work with local extension services, NGOs, Peace Corps volunteers (Niger), and farmer organizations to deploy these biological control agents.
  • We will continue to seek to increase the participation of women in workshops, and that women be trained in the monitoring of cowpea insect pests and that these women have access to all technologies that we plan to use in the development of extension materials.
  • Once biological control agents are ready to be evaluated in the management of the cowpea pests IITA is currently in a position to continually rear these bio-control agents (beyond the scope of FY11 and FY12) and make them available to other groups wishing to use such agents.
  • Where bio-control agents for legume pod borer are successful in reducing damage by this insect we do not expect other cowpea insect pests to fill the ecological niche of this pest, as the pest numbers will simply be reduced.
  • Successful establishment of the bio-control agent will be determined by surveys in the years that follow the release of the bio-control agents. Where feasible, molecular markers may be useful to determine if the bio-control agent populations that we release are in fact the ones that have established in the region.
  • We expect that the bio-control agents will integrate into the ecosystem, thus, there are likely to be insect predators that will keep their populations at an eventual equilibrium level.
  • Development of IPM materials for pests of cowpeas that can be used in regional training workshops with technicians working at institutions within host countries.
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