Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

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Agro-dealers' knowledge, perception, and willingness to stock a fungal-based biopesticide (ICIPE 20) for management of Tuta absoluta in Kenya.

Abstract

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), tomato is an economically important crop that contributes not only to employment and income, but also food security. Like the rest of the SSA countries, tomato production in Kenya is constrained mainly by pests and diseases, key among them being the tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta), which can cause 80-100% losses if not properly managed. To suppress this pest, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and partners are introducing a fungal-based biopesticide (ICIPE 20) in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach as a sustainable alternative to the sole use of synthetic pesticides. This study was carried out before the introduction of the biopesticide to assess its commercial feasibility among agro-dealers, using Kirinyaga County in Kenya where tomato production is predominant, as the study area. Specifically, the study assessed the knowledge, perception, and willingness to stock biopesticide using a market survey involving 141 agro-dealers. Successful commercialization of a new product is assumed to be the cumulative result of traders' and buyers' knowledge and perceptions about the product. The results show that a higher proportion of agro-dealers were willing to pay for ICIPE 20 at a higher price than Coragen®, the most popular insecticide for management of T. absoluta. The regression analysis revealed that individual characteristics such as age, education, access to social networks and credit facilities, and information are correlated to the agro-dealer's knowledge, perception, and willingness to stock the biopesticide. Training agro-dealers may promote greater uptake of the biopesticides through enhancing their knowledge and perception towards the effectiveness of the product.