Ohio State Tapped to Lead Major Integrated Pest Management Project in East Africa

March 15, 2016

Dr. John Cardina, Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, along with collaborating faculty in the Office of International Programs in Agriculture and four other departments in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), have been awarded a major Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovation Lab project entitled "Vegetable Crops for East Africa". This five year, $2 million project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and focuses on building the capacity of institutions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania to implement effective IPM research and locally-adapted technology transfer programs that increase environmental benefits, farm productivity and incomes, and inform national and regional policies.

IPM is a holistic approach to solving pest problems through biological, cultural, chemical, and physical means while minimizing the risks to people and the environment.

“CFAES faculty at Ohio State are very fortunate to be able to lead this effort following many years of working and building relationships in East Africa,” says Dr. Cardina, who has worked previously in East Africa and specializes in a variety of subject matter including weed ecology and sustainable plant communities. “Our highly interdisciplinary team of researchers in the U.S. and East Africa will implement IPM research and technology transfer programs in ways that are locally-adapted and gender-appropriate.”

The IPM Innovation Lab, which is managed by Virginia Tech University, is one of 24 Feed the Future Innovation Labs - a portfolio of collaborative research projects led by U.S. universities that seek to advance novel solutions to reduce global hunger, poverty, and undernutrition in 19 Feed the Future priority countries.

Cardina and other CFAES faculty will work with researchers from other U.S. institutions - University of California-Davis and Virginia Tech University - and with key in-country collaborators including the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nairobi, the University of Hawassa in Ethiopia, Real IPM, and the Sokoine University of Agriculture and the Mikocheni Agriculture Research Institute in Tanzania.

"Working closely with these in-country partners will build their capacity to innovatively scale-up integrate pest management practices, as well as enhance their collaborative relationships with Ohio State and other U.S. partners," says Dr. Mark Erbaugh, a co-PI on the project and Director of the Office of International Programs in Agriculture.

Ohio State University, through CFAES faculty, has led and/or actively participated in previous Innovation Lab projects specializing in IPM (1993-2014), horticulture (2010-2102), and sorghum and millet (2007-2013) in East Africa, and is eager to leverage those historic linkages and successes towards this project's efforts to develop, implement, and scale-up IPM technologies for several horticultural crops of significance for small-holder farmers in East Africa.

Full list of project principal investigators (PI's) and co-PIs from Ohio State:

• John Cardina, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
• Mark Erbaugh, Office of International Programs in Agriculture and Ohio State Extension
• Sally Miller, Department of Plant Pathology
• Cathy Rakowski, School of Environment and Natural Resources
• Matthew Kleinhenz, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
• Luis Cañas, Department of Entomology