Farmers' perception on the importance of variegated grasshopper (Zonocerus variegatus (L.)) in the agricultural production systems of the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon
Sévilor Kekeunou1,2, Stephan Weise1, Jean Messi2 and Manuel Tamò3
1International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Humid Forest Eco-regional Centre, Yaounde, Cameroon
2Zoology laboratory, Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde, Cameroon
3International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Biological Control Center for Africa, Cotonou, Benin
Zonocerus variegatus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) is known as an agricultural pest in West and Central Africa. However, its importance in the agricultural production system in Cameroon has not been investigated. The study assesses farmers' perception on the importance of Z. variegatus in the agricultural production systems of the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon.
Research was carried out in 5 villages of each of three Agro-Ecological, Cultural and Demographic Blocks (AECD-Blocks) of the Forest Margin Benchmark Area (FMBA). In each village, a semi-structured survey was used; male and female groups of farmers were interviewed separately.
Z. variegatus is present throughout the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon, where it is ranked as the third most economically important insect pest of agriculture. In the farmers' opinion, Z. variegatus is a polyphagous insect with little impact on young perennial crops. The length of the pre-farming fallow does not affect Z. variegatus pest pressure in the following crops. The increased impact of the grasshopper observed today in the fields, compared to what existed 10 years ago is as a result of deforestation and increase in surface of herbaceous fallow. The damage caused by Z. variegatus is higher in fields adjacent to C. odorata and herbaceous fallows than in those adjacent to forests and shrubby fallows. The fight against this grasshopper is often done through physical methods carried out by hand, for human consumption. The farmers highlight low usage of the chemical methods and a total absence of biological and ecological methods.
Farmers' perception have contributed to understanding the status of Z. variegatus in the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon. The results are in general similar to those obtained in other countries.
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2006, 2:17. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.