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St. Michael's College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


Organic agriculture is a practice that continues to grow on the global scale due to increasing market demands as interest in the consumption of healthier foods with minimal environmental impact continues to rise. However, as with all forms of agriculture, organic agroecosystems too have problems with the presence of pests – fungi, insects, bacteria, pathogens – and other sicknesses that affect both the yield and quality of the harvest, which in turn affects the well-being, in terms of nutrition and socioeconomic standing, of the people and families that depend on agriculture as their principal form of subsistence. With this in mind, to give organic farmers the greatest opportunity to excel in the market, they must be provided with the awareness and access to different forms of control with high rates of efficiency in controlling the pests that cause harm to crops with great economic and nutritional value. With these motivations in mind, this study was carried out to investigate and evaluate the efficiency of different forms of control against the main problems affecting the important crop varieties San Pedro de Vilcabamba, a community which depends largely on agriculture to sustain itself. To combat the problems of la mariposa blanca de la col, aphids, caterpillars and iron deficiency, various treatments were put in place (sol’n of chilli, maceration of repellent plants, maceration of jasmin seeds, alcoholic extract of garlic and chilli, and sol’n of iron and suflur) and the impacts of said treatments were evaluated before and after application through observation of the presence (frequency and severity) of the pests they were believed to control. At the end of the trials, it was found that only two treatments - alcoholic extract of garlic and chilli, and maceration of repellent plants – led to a decrease in the presence of pests and other sicknesses with significant trends (p≤0.10) whereas the other three treatments proved ineffective in significantly impacting pest populations (p≥0.10). In conclusion, it was determined from this data that the two aforementioned treatments (p≤0.10) are useful pest control methods, while further testing of the others at stronger concentrations are needed to fully understand their potential use.



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