Sustainable potato pest management in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region (Traugott lab)

 Johannes Oehm, Bettina Thalinger & Michael Traugott (PI)

 

A collaborative project with the International Potato Center (CIP; Dr. Jürgen Kroschel, Dr. Marc Sporleder, Octavio Zegarra) and research intuitions from Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and India

 

This project addresses pest management in potato in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region, including the impacts of increasing pesticide use on the environment and human health. It brings together researchers from South America (CIP), Europe (University of Innsbruck) and Asia, including scientists from Bhutan, Nepal, north-eastern Pakistan and India. In these countries, half of the population lives below the poverty line and potato represents an important crop to feed the human population. However, potato production in these countries is environmentally unsustainable because of the intensive use of pesticides to control pests and diseases or the lack of ecologically-based pest management technologies. We will address several of these issues including the development of new disease and pest management strategies in potato production and storage. The collaboration with the Traugott lab will address the molecular identification of Himalayan pestiferous scarab larvae, the development of a DNA-based parasitoid detection system to be used to monitor the establishment of parasitoids of the potato tuber moth (Phthorimea operculella) as classical biocontrol agents as well as expertise for agro-entomological assessment of native invertebrate communities and its pest control potential in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region. Moreover, researchers from the region will be trained in up-to-date methodology and research approaches, contributing to knowledge transfer and helping to establish expertise in the focal countries.

 

Funding: Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

 

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