Crop scouting and the use of other management strategies in combination with pesticides in pest management by the smallholder horticultural grower
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Crop scouting is the cornerstone of any successful pest and disease management program but a sadly missed element with most smallholder horticultural growers. In many cases problem pests are only identified after they have reached very high levels and this is exacerbated when pests are incorrectly identified. Pesticides, the most commonly used weapons, are not given a chance of success because of incorrect timing against the incorrect target pest. One solution to such problems is to make the smallholder horticultural growers aware of a fundamental element of pest management called scouting. This can only be achieved by training. From experience, the implementation of scout training among smallholder horticultural growers is easy. There are other management strategies that the growers can benefit from if used in combination with chemicals for pest management. Crop rotation, cropping patterns, mulching and many other methods can often be used to manage pest populations effectively. Most of our smallholder growers need training for them to be able to implement strategies.