Home Institution

Illinois Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Insect damage is a major concern for smallholder farmers in developing countries like Tanzania. Synthetic insecticides can tame infestations, however they can be expensive, inaccessible, and their misuse can threaten farmer health and ecological conditions. Botanical insecticides are cheap alternatives to treat infestations while preserving beneficial insects such as pollinators, predators, and parasitoids. This study assesses how both synthetic and botanical insecticides affect beneficial insects, crop yield and profit/costs. This study finds botanical insecticides slightly less harmful towards non-target insects. Botanical insecticides seldomly improve crop yields but usually result in a higher profit/lower cost. Due to high variation in ecological and economic results, I recommend implementing botanical insecticides as an alternative to synthetic insecticides or using synthetic insecticides as a supplement to botanical insecticides. These recommendations should be linked with improved insecticide training and regulation to ensure safety and efficacy.


African Studies | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Biodiversity | Entomology | Environmental Health and Protection


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