Emerging challenges resulting from climate change
Climate change is expected to facilitate the emergence and resurgence of invasive pests (like fruit flies, Cassava mealy bug etc.) and plant disease vectors (e.g. whitefly, Bemisia tabaci; Thrips (many species), Aphids (several species) and plant hoppers). Imbalances in host-natural enemy population synchrony are some of the commonly observed impacts of climate change, which are upsetting the natural ecosystem balances across crops and geographical regions. It is expected that pests will have shorter life cycles, increased fecundity, increased herbivory due to poor quality food and in many cases movement towards new geographical areas and new crop hosts. Currently, prevailing pest management strategies are poorly equipped to deal with these rapid and dynamic changes. To deal with these ever increasing levels of biotic and abiotic stress, quantum changes in knowledge-attitude-practice of smallholder farmers will be of paramount importance as to enable them to continue to grow healthy and high-yielding crops with minimal inputs of agro-chemicals.