Study identifies trees that can be used to protect crops

Dar es Salaam. A new study has established the existence of tree species that can be used to kill insects that feed on crops, raising fresh hope in the fight against post-harvest losses among farmers.

Crops such as maize are normally attacked by insects after harvesting, making post-harvest losses a serious challenge in the agriculture sector.

It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of crops are lost in Tanzania after being harvested crops annually.

Some trees located in various areas were found to be able to kill harmful insects within a short time, while others repel pests.

The research was conducted by Mr Imani Macha from the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE), aiming to reduce the post-harvest losses.

His study was prompted by the fact that there are still some farmers who use pesticides that have been prohibited by the relevant authorities to kill insects.

Speaking at the 48th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, popularly known as Sabasaba, Mr Macha said that through the research conducted on 11 types of plants, the focus was on threes’ safety, effectiveness and the ability to store crops after harvesting.

“There are some plants that can kill insects quickly, and their effectiveness is the same as industrial pesticides, and some plants we found out do not kill insects but can protect crops from being attacked by insects,” he said.

Mr Macha added that pesticides that do not kill insects have shown effectiveness in driving away insects so that they are not able to approach the crops at all.

He believes that when the research is completed, it will help people get rid of the spoilage of crops after harvesting.

According to him, some of the plants that have been found to have the ability to kill insects, in the names most known by the people of the southern regions of Tanzania, include Chimuhumbila, Mkungu, Msegesi, Majegejo, and Lipuda.

“That is according to the names used by people in the south, but every plant I mentioned there has its own scientific name that is used all over the world,” said Mr Macha.

The executive director of the Agricultural Research Institute (Tari) Kihinga Centre, Dr Filson Kagimbo, said that there is a possibility of plants killing insects while admitting that there are some people who have already done research in the area.

“It is possible, and there are people we know who have done research in this area, and their medicines are doing well on the market,” said Dr Kagimbo.

Related Articles

Back to top button