Rearing Beneficial Insects for Stored Product Pest Management to Improve Food Security in Ghana

The current population of Ghana is 25 million and over 60% of them live in urban areas, indicating that increasing quantities of food will have to be moved over long distances to supply the growing urban demand. Post-harvest losses (PHL) are economically significant in Ghana for a broad range of commodities, resulting in a substantial negative impact on food security and livelihoods. Grains (maize, rice, sorghum, millet, cowpea, groundnut etc.) are the main food crops that provide diet for majority of the population in Ghana. For example maize is the most important cereal in Ghana and is the staple Food for over 94% of the population. About 1.6 million hectares of maize is cultivated annually in Ghana, 80% of which is owned by smallholder farmers. However, the safety of these important food grains is threatened by insects, rodents and moulds, which results from inappropriate storage and handling methods. Annual grain losses of over 50% in cereals and up to 100% in pulses have been reported. In the current development objectives of all economies, improving food security through a reduction of PHL is imperative. The use of synthetic insecticides continues to be a major component of stored-product pest management strategies in Africa. However, for sustainable grain protection the combination of the various control options in an integrated and compatible manner and their uptake are imperative. Therefore, it is essential that environmentally friendly, cost-effective and readily implementable technologies are developed for use in Ghana where post-harvest infrastructure is poorly developed and losses remain high. Such technologies include the use of natural antagonists of pests to reduce pest population in the context of environment and biodiversity conservation. The goal of this research project is to improve food security in Ghana through the development and promotion of biorational pest management using beneficial natural enemies of grain pests in the storage environment. The thematic objectives are to (a) collect and identify beneficial insects in the major agro-ecological zones for grain production in Ghana, (b) establish a rearing facility for different beneficial insects and (c) evaluate the efficacy of selected benefical insects in the laboratory and field against some key storage insect pests of grains. The cost-effectiveness and cultural acceptability of the use of beneficial insects will be assessed. A key element of the work will be to establish an ongoing beneficial insect rearing, collection, identification and preservation capacity, and to build a database of beneficial insects of stored product pests in the different agro-ecological zones of Ghana where grains are produced. It is expected that the successful execution of this project will result in enhanced skills of junior researchers, smallholder farmers and grain storage practitioners in sustainable grain protection for a significant reduction in PHL in terms of biorational protection of grains. Moreover, a reduction in the use of synthetic chemicals for controlling losses from pests and reduction of hazardous toxins is targeted. The project will result in enhanced capacity and competitiveness of Researchers from Ghana in research for development, establishment of a functional insect rearing facility for beneficial insects, and the establishment of sustainable partnership among academia, and strong research collaboration between Ghanaian and German researchers for mutual benefits.

Principal Investigators
Ulrichs, Christian Prof. Dr. rer. nat.; Dr. rer. agr. (Details) (Urban Plant Ecophysiology)

Participating external organizations

Financer
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2017
End date: 12/2019

Research Areas
Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine

Last updated on 2020-14-10 at 13:41