Mweke Allan, Christian Ulrichs, Maniania K. Nguya, Ekesi Sunday
Leafy cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp is an African indigenous vegetable (AIV) which is cultivated mainly in the tropics and is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. It is a source of income and is used in soil fertility improvement. In Africa cowpea yields are low mainly due to attack by insect pests. Cowpea aphid (Aphis craccivora Koch) is one of the major constraints to production. Yield losses due A. craccivora can reach 100% in absence of control. Management of A. craccivora in cowpea relies heavily on use of chemical insecticides that are harmful to human, the environment, and non-target organisms. Integrated management strategies for A. craccivora have been developed and used but none has employed use of biopesticides despite aphids being highly susceptible to attack by entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) and a number of fungal based biopesticides being developed. Despite this huge potential no biopesticide has been developed specifically targeting A. craccivora in Africa. Development and integration of biopesticides in pest management in AIVs is a promising and sustainable pest management option since they are host specific, safe to human and environment and have short post harvest intervals and therefore suitable for use in production of AIVs.
Cowpea, Aphis craccivora; management; entomopathogenic fungi; biopesticide