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Demonstration of Botanical Pesticides in the Commonwealth of the Northern M

CIG Projects in PIA | Pacific Islands Area NRCS
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Demonstration of Botanical Pesticides in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Grantee: Northern Mariana College - Cooperative Research Extension and Education

Abstract
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has a long history as being a farming community. Farming has been a practice since the Japanese occupation of the Mariana Islands. At one point before WWII, the Mariana Islands were known to be major agricultural contributors to the world on sugar production. The CNMI farming community till this day has yet to adopt many of the farming techniques that are applied throughout the mainland United States in respect to managing pests. Many of the farming techniques applied in the CNMI today require the use of over the counter insecticides such as Malathion and Sevin®. This is due to the fact that only a few of the islands� farmers manage to pass the required pesticide applicator training offered by the Northern Marianas College�s Cooperative Research, Extension, & Education Services (NMC-CREES). Although many fail the mandatory test and as a result, Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP�s) application is somewhat minimal, there is a widespread belief among farmers that using RUP�s is the only way to enhance yield and eventually farming profitability. Because farmers have difficulty in passing, some are giving up on farming completely, while others remain optimistic that NMC-CREES will find alternatives to applying pesticides.

The objective of this project is to demonstrate sustainable pest management practices through the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and using neem (Azedirachta indica A. Juss.) as a control in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. By performing such we aim to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce the high risk of general use and restrictive use pesticides on CNMI farms.
  • Facilitate technology transfer of alternative control method onto existing farms in the CNMI through demonstrations.
  • Effectively increase knowledge in IPM through proper monitoring of thresholds of insect populations.
  • Increase farming productivity while being environmentally conscientious.
  • Increase pesticide poisoning awareness through the promotion of alternative practices.
  • Reduction of surface water pollutants that pose public health risk.
  • No present testing is done for pesticide residue on crops in the CNMI. This project aims to reduce the chances of pesticide poisoning from possible residue on vegetables being sold in the market