Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Core Concept of IPM: Generally, agriculture ecosystems (agroecosystems) are more of naturally balanced ecosystems. The emergence of pests, such as insects and diseases are an indication of some wrong activities in the agroecosystems.
Until and unless correction is made to those particular activities, it is virtually impossible to control pest problems in a sustainable manner.
A sustainable pest control therefore requires a broader understanding on the agroecosystems, such as on seed, variety, soil, water, climate, weed, insect, etc. IPM is a sustainable and ecosystem approach to crop production and protection that combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops and minimize the use of pesticides. IPM is effective not just to control the pest problems but to improve the growth and productivity of crops more sustainably. Farmers thus require a broader understanding on the entire production system to apply IPM more successfully.
Strategies for IPM in Afghanistan
Geographically, Afghanistan lies on a location where two extreme weather conditions are predominant, extreme hot in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. These unique weathers are actually a blessing for natural pest control, preventing any insect from building its population to a damaging number to crops.
The real problem, however, is the conventional method of cultivations involving no standard practices for planting, weeding, and soil and water management, leading to poor plant growth. These poor plants then become more vulnerable to pest attack. The use of pesticides further worsens the situation by damaging the natural habitat and the ecosystem, while polluting the environment posing great danger to human health.
There are, however, few insects that are real threats to crop production such as locust and melon fly. They are migratory insects coming from across the borders and thus require specific strategies for management.