Purdue entomologist introduces IPM to students in Afghanistan
Rick Foster, entomologist and IPM specialist, traveled 4,000 miles to help students and professors understand pest management theory and control techniques, and how different combinations of those techniques can be used to manage insects there.
Foster introduced the basic concepts of integrated pest management, which focuses more on crops and less on the pests themselves.
A well-designed IPM program should be profitable for the farmer and safe for the environment, farmers and workers, consumers, wildlife, and natural enemies and pollinators.
"The seminar was very good for us, because we learned a lot of new things about pesticides," said Sayed Mohammad Naim, a seminar participant and senior student studying plant protection at Kabul. "It also helped to clarify some of the questions we had about insect classification because we were using outdated material."
Foster's short-course is sponsored by the Purdue University USAID Advancing Afghan Agriculture Alliance (A-4). The program, which has been in existence for four years, is designed to rebuild agricultural education in Afghanistan.
Three assistant professors of Kabul's Faculty of Agriculture participated in a six-week crop diagnostic training program taught by Foster and other Purdue staff. They then returned to Kabul to help teach the seminar.
Gehlum Hussein, an assistant professor in the Kabul University's forestry department, introduced students to the classification of arthropods such as Crustacea, Diplopoda, Insecta, Arachnida, and more.
After Foster leaves, Fawzia Mumtaz, assistant professor in the department of plant protection, and Samiullah Bahee, assistant professor in the department of agronomy, will continue teaching the material to students. Mumtaz will discuss how to identify pests in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, etc.) while Bahee will focus on how to identify Hemiptera - also known as true bugs - and Hemoptera, which include aphids and leafhoppers.
Another senior student studying plant protection, Zahra Nabawi, said the seminar was beneficial because she learned how to recognize, classify and control insects. She particularly enjoyed an armyworm movie that Foster showed, which explained how destructive the pest can be if not properly managed.
Foster also will teach the seminar to university students in Herat, Afghanistan.
In addition to teaching, Foster is working with Afghan scientists to develop a national insect/pest survey that will, for the first time, catalog the presence and severity of pests in the Afghan provinces.
USAID - U.S. Agency for International Development - is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. USAID works in 100 developing countries through partnerships with private voluntary organizations, indigenous groups, universities, American businesses, international organizations, foreign governments, trade and professional associations, faith-based organizations and other U.S. government agencies.