Integrated termite management innovation development for sustainable food security in Western Ethiopia, Oromiya

Currently, I am studying my PhD (3rd year student) specializing in Agricultural Entomology at Ambo University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, Gudar Campus, Ethiopia. I chose this area of specialization because I am particularly interested in crop and plant pest management research to ensure the sustainability of food security
through improved plant protection in developing countries like Ethiopia and Eastern Africa. Moreover, I want to be a future leader of one of plant protection (plant health) organizations or institutions in my country or elsewhere. Sustainable plant protection should a common sense practice.

Based on my professional motivation and interests, I recognize that termites are a devastating insect pest in Ethiopia in particular in Western Ethiopia (Oromiya) leaving the land barren and exposed to erosion. The project I propose will point out the promotion of the existing integrated termite management/ITM practices emphasizing integration of cultural practices, the role of biophysical conservation methods, safe use of insecticide control measures and other possible solutions to reduce the problem of termites. These ITM practices have been evaluated and implemented in some districts of Western Oromiya, as its realized by evaluation committees that holistic and systemic pest management can reduce termite severity. 

The stakeholders of the project are farmers, elementary and high school students (The fate the Future), regional and district agricultural/plant protection experts, village agricultural development agents, Universities (Wollega, Dembi Dollo, Ambo and Assosa Universities), governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in sustainable food security. These stakeholders were involved in a well-structured smooth platform on ITM as the issues of termite problem is an alarming and pressing issues at a national level. We consider termites as a political pest of crops in Ethiopia. Thousands of farmers have benefited from the evaluation and implementation phase of the project in the past five years; however the limited budget is a very challenging in order to be have a sustainable, systemic approach and reach wider audiences.

The third phase of the project is to reach model farmers for wider ITM technology dissemination in termite affected areas. The project evaluation committees have reported that the current ITM project has been one of the most success IPM stories in increasing farmers ITM knowledge, generating incomes, and ensuring food security in the region.

Tarekegn Fite, Ethiopia

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