Sweetpotato weevil is the most serious pest of sweetpotato, with reported losses ranging from 5% to 80% worldwide. The larva, which feeds both on stems and roots, is the most destructive stage of the insect. The control of sweetpotato weevil has met some degree of difficulties. It’s presence inside the tubers protects it from contact pesticides and most arthropod natural enemies. As part of integrated pest management, numerous chemical insecticides have been tested for the control of sweetpotato weevils. Control achieved by post planting application of chemical insecticides appears to be due to mortality of adult weevils in search of feeding sites. Movement of the adult weevil may facilitate the contact between the toxicant and the insect, thereby resulting in insect mortality. This method may require frequent application for it to be effective.
However, frequent application of insecticides is not cost effective, hence not making economic sense to smallholder farmers due to the low market price of sweetpotato in most countries in Africa. In addition, a high proportion of these chemicals may be toxic and may have adverse effects on human health, wildlife, local food sources such as cattle or fish, beneficial insects and biodiversity. Will researching in innovative and cutting edge non-chemical pest management approaches be a breakthrough that will strike a balance between improving smallholder farmers livelihood through improved yields and sustainable environmental management?