Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Guatemala)
Guillermo E Sanchez, Ing. Jorge Luis Sandoval (Guatemala); Stephen Weller (US)
The livelihood of more than 18,500 farmers in Guatemala’s central highlands depends on production of export pea crops. From August 1997 to May 1998 an integrated insect pest management strategy was evaluated at several locations and tested against the traditional management practices utilized by farmers (control plots). The evaluations were conducted in 13 commercial-sized field plots (1,100 m2). IPM tactics included weekly leafminer samplings, threshold-based applications of insecticides, usage of the mobile sticky trap “torito”, and row hilling. Improved agronomic practices include among others, adequate land selection, soil test based-fertilization programs, and certified seed planting. The control plots were managed under the traditional conditions of the growers, consisting mostly of programmed insecticide sprayings and fertilization.
Results of the study found that insect pest levels remained similar in both the IPM-based and farmers' plots. However, large differences existed on the types and quantities of pesticides applied to the plots. The ICM plots were only treated with EPA-labeled chemicals while some growers sprayed unlabeled pesticides. In contrast to the farmers' management criteria, the average numbers of insecticide applications were reduced by 50% in the ICM plots. In addition export quality yields ranged between 3,500 11,950 kg/ha, exceeding the control plots by 10-50% and the average national snow pea yields by up to 100%. The export peas ICM program has proven to be a reliable and effective approach to obtain high-quality yields and increased profits, under an environmentally friendly and sustainable crop management strategy.