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Understanding Crop Management Decisions for Sustainable Vegetable Crop Protection: A Case Study of Small Tomato Growers in Mayotte Island

Huat, J., Aubry, C., Dore, T.
Agroecology and sustainable food systems 2014 v.38 no.7 pp. 764-785
application rate, biodiversity, case studies, crop management, decision making, gardening, growers, health status, markets, pesticide application, pesticides, pests, plant protection, planting, surveys, tomatoes, vegetable crops, Comoros
Pests and diseases are one of the limiting factors that farmers have to control to obtain better yields. With a view to gaining a clear understanding of their cultivation practices and technical decisions in order to support farmers in a move toward environment-friendly practices, a two-year survey of tomato farmers was conducted in Mayotte. Thirty five farmers were interviewed several times about their crop management, and field observations were undertaken every two weeks. Results showed that the number of pesticide applications varied greatly (4–23) with a tendency toward over-application, and no relationship was found between the application rate and the health status of the crop. Inefficiency in protecting crop health also reflected a problem of access to pesticide information and a poor control of crop protection methods. Over-application of pesticide has long term impacts on marine health and biodiversity. The planting bed and the individual plant were found to be appropriate units for technical decision making and applying market gardening techniques. However, current agricultural advice does not apply to these units, suggesting that a redefinition of technical advice is needed.