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Topic 7: Alternative Materials and Sourcing for Aphid Proof Nets

Through this discussion topic “Alternative Materials and Sourcing for Aphid Proof Nets,” members sought to determine alternative materials and sourcing for aphid proof nets (net tunnels). It was to provide a way whereby they could proactively fashion out a more sustainable net tunnel technology, which would affordably and readily available to farmers. This would make the net tunnel technology appropriate & suitable at farmers’ level, and in turn enhance the generation of quality sweetpotato planting materials and improvement on the seed systems.  Four questions probing the suitability and effectiveness of mosquito nets as alternative materials for aphid nets were put across following a suggestion of using them in Nigeria.  The questions read: 1) will the adoption of locally sourced mosquito treated nets affect malaria control efforts of the government? (2) How effective will it screen off pests from the vines? (3) Any unforeseen effect on the insolation and dispersion of solar radiation build-up of heat within the tunnel, water/rain penetration etc.; (4) What other sources of netting materials that can be sourced locally?  However, as has happened with other topics, contributions were not structured according to the questions. Rather, contributors either raised concerns about the mosquito nets, or suggested alternative materials, while others either concurred with or had different views. The lead discussant was Dr. Jude Njoku from Nigeria. The topic attracted 21 contributions from 12 unique respondents. This summary highlights the key points, any areas of consensus or disagreement, and any ideas suggested that members could consider to try/test in their work to further learning and inform development /practice in sweetpotato seed system.