Notes to broadcasters
Dealing with pests is one of the facts of a farmer’s life. Insects and other kinds of pests not only swallow a farmer’s crop, but a farmer’s income too. Pests reduce yield and reduce the quality of the crop, which reduces income.
There are many ways to deal with pests. Many cultural practices, including crop rotation, planting “trap crops,” planting pest-resistant varieties, and hand-picking pests are designed to manage pests in the field, and to keep pest populations small enough that the damage they cause is minimal.
Sometimes, farmers might need to use pesticides. There are many types of pesticides, but the most common types are herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, which control weeds, insects, and fungal diseases. Another way to categorize pesticides is to divide them into chemical pesticides and biological pesticides, also called biopesticides.
Biopesticides can be as effective aschemical pesticides, though they are usually less persistent in the environment, and farmers need to reapply them. They are usually less expensive and they are much less damaging to human health and the environment.Indeed, they provide the insects and other creatures who prey on or parasitize crop pests with a better environment than chemical pesticides, whose effectiveness can be limited by pest resistance and weather conditions.
This script tells the story of a farmer from Cameroon who learned to make his own biological pesticide by using different parts of the neem tree, whose scientific name is Azadirachta indica.
The farmer gives details on how to make and use his neem-based insecticide to control insect pests in his vegetable crops.
You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on using alternatives to chemical pesticides for managing pests.
Talk to farmers, extension agents, and researchers. You might ask them:
• What are the main pest problems in your area and how do farmers usually address them? Are there farmers in your area who have used natural or biological pesticides to manage pests? What were the results? What were the successes, and what were the challenges?
• How is using a biological pesticide different from using a chemical pesticide?
Estimated running time for this item is 15-20 minutes, including intro and outro.
Today, we are with a farmer who uses neem, Mal Awal Birni. Can you introduce yourself to our listeners?
First, I collect neem bark. Today, I will make the insecticide without using measuring tools. But, to make five litres of neem solution, you need one or two small branches.
So you need five litres of water and one kilogram of neem leaves to produce 100 litres of biopesticide. I should tell you that the soap has no impact on the effectiveness of the solution. The soap only helps makes it easier to use.
From experience, I have noticed that the neem solution is effective for French beans, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots—and vegetable crops in general. We spray the solution every ten days or once every two weeks. This is what we use after the plants have been attacked.
The only inconvenience with the neem oil is that you must apply it from sowing to harvest. We learned that neem does not kill pests. It just repels them. So, as soon as the active ingredient completely evaporates, pests come back. This is why you need to repeat the sprays every few weeks.
Besides, you can use neem oil in daily life. For example, you can use neem oil for farming, caring for newborns, for diaper rash, or to treat children’s scalps when they have ringworm. So the oil is more useful forus.
We will meet Mrs. Carine Mala Poaka, a research teacher at the University of Maroua. She works on some programs with the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, or IRAD, which is part of the Ministry of Scientific Research in Cameroon.
Mrs. Mala Poaka, what can you tell us about using various neem solutions for pest control?
Neem insecticide is effective for pests which attack, among other things, greens, vegetable crops, cotton, seed crops such as sunflower and sesame, rain fed crops like millet and sorghum, some species of palm oil trees, and even some pests of stored grain.
To sum up, I would say that insecticides made with neem, regardless of the type of mixture or whether you use neem seeds, bark, leaves, or roots, are effective for protecting growing crops and stored crops.
A biopesticide made with neem can be used as a precaution or a remedy because it deters pests from feeding on treated plants, it prevents larvae from developing, and it repels pests and prevents them from growing.
Because it doesn’t persist long in the environment, it is recommended that farmers apply the appropriate dose many times during a season, every few weeks.
We learned how to make a biopesticide to control pests which invade fields. Farmers can use neem bark and leaves to prepare a liquid which is sprayed on plants. You can also make neem oil with neem seeds and dilute the oil with water to spray plants. Neem oil has the benefit of lasting longer and having many household uses.
You can use neem insecticide to protect plants from attack, or use it after plants have been attacked. Remember that neem insecticide does not kill pests; it only repels them. So, when it evaporates, you must spray it again, every few weeks. It is safe and it is effective against a wide variety of pests.
For more information on making and using neem insecticides, contact your local extension agent.
Thanks for listening, and we hope you learned a lot. See you soon!
Contributed by: Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, Cameroon
Reviewed by:Carine Mala, Assistant Professor, University of Maroua, Cameroon