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Farmers’ Perceptions, Knowledge, and Management of Coffee Pests and Diseases and Their Natural Enemies in Chiapas, Mexico

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Small farmers’ perceptions of coffee Coffea arabica L. herbivores and their natural enemies, how those perceptions relate to field infestation levels, and pest management practices being implemented by members from two organic and nonorganic coffee grower organizations in the Soconusco region, southeastern Mexico, were analyzed through an interview survey, diagnostic workshops, and field sampling. The terms pest, disease, and damage were commonly used as synonyms. The major phytophagous species, as perceived by the interviewees, were Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari), and to a lesser extent the fungi Corticium koleroga Cooke (Höhnel) and Hemileia vastatrix Berkeley & Broome. Among the nonorganic farmers, other nonpest-related constraints were regarded as more important. Awareness of the existence of natural enemies was low, despite more organic farmers have used the ectoparasitoid bethylid Cephalonomia stephanoderis Betrem against H. hampei. Labor supplied by household members was most frequent for pest control; only organic farmers exchanged labor for this purpose. The levels of infestation by H. hampei, Leucoptera coffeella Guérin-Méneville, and C. koleroga were lower within the organic coffee stands. However, a low effectiveness for pest control was commonly perceived, probably due to a feeling, among the organic farmers, of a low impact of their pest management extension service, whereas a lack of motivation was prevalent among the nonorganic farmers, shown by a concern with their low coffee yields and the emigration of youth. The importance of understanding farmers’ perceptions and knowledge of pests and their natural enemies and the need for participatory pest management approaches, are discussed.

Keywords: Chiapas; coffee; crop protection; farmer knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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