Item Details

Title: Managing storage pests of maize: Farmers' knowledge, perceptions and practices in western Kenya

Date Published: 2016
Author/s: Charles A.O. Midega , Alice W. Murage, Jimmy O. Pittchar, Zeyaur R. Khan
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
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Affiliation: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), P.O. Box 30772-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
b Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), P.O. Box 25-20117, Naivasha, Kenya
Keywords: Maize, Storage pests, Integrated pest management, Smallholder farmers


Insect pests are a key constraint to effective utilization of cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with
damage caused by these pests in the stores of particular concern. Although a number of approaches have
been advanced for control of storage pests of maize, uptake remains a challenge, with effectiveness of
some approaches being questionable. We conducted a survey in western Kenya among 330 respondents
using face to face interviews and focus group discussions to evaluate farmers' practices, knowledge and
perceptions of storage pests of maize, and their current practices in managing such pests as a basis for
development of efficient integrated pest management (IPM) approaches for the pests. Majority of the
respondents stored maize in traditional granaries, with less than 10% of them using modern improved
facilities, mainly due to inability to afford these. Majority of the respondents also cited attack of their
stored grains by a number of insect pests, causing about 40% grain losses. The larger grain borer, Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae), sawtoothed grain beetle, Oryzaephilus surinamensis
(L) (Coleoptera: Silvanidae), and maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), were perceived as the most common and damaging pests. Farmers' perceptions of pests were
positively and significantly influenced by level of education and farming experience, indicating that
education and experience build farmers' understanding of storage pests. Storing maize in unshelled form
seemed to result in less pest attack, although majority of the respondents stored their maize in shelled form