Sustainable Pest Control for the Tropics

2002 Annual Report for EW00-026

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2000: $78,090.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $81,200.00
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Richard Bowen
Department of Nat Res and Envir Mngt

Sustainable Pest Control for the Tropics


The year round warm temperatures and abundant rainfall of the tropics provide ideal conditions for tropical “pests” such as nematodes, insects, and plant pathogens. Island ecosystems are very vulnerable to the environmental damages from the misuse of toxic agricultural chemicals. Growers must find non-chemical alternatives.

A training module and extension materials about general sustainable pest control techniques for the tropics will be prepared for use in an intensive two-day training program for agricultural professionals in Hawaii. Major segments from the training will be broadcast via video teleconferencing facilities to participating colleagues throughout the American Pacific. Six to seven demonstration sites will be conducted to field test sustainable pest techniques. Field days will be held to showcase these methods to the public and to give participants valuable learning experiences relating to the use of these methods.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  • To develop the capacity of University of Hawaii CES and Hawai`i NRCS personnel, and other agricultural professionals to understand and promote successful sustainable pest control methods for the tropics that reduce the use and dependency on toxic agricultural chemicals.

    To develop training for agency personnel and agricultural professionals in this topic area based on a participatory-learning model.

    To stimulate hands-on education events for farmers and other members of the agricultural community to be organized and led by those trained in sustainable pest control.

    To expand the scope of the sustainable pest control training module to reach personnel and agricultural professionals in the Pacific via an interactive video teleconference.

  • Form a Working Group (with representation from CES, NRCS, educators from community colleges, individual farmers, farmer organizations, and researchers in Hawai`i and the Pacific Islands) to develop modules to introduce successful pest control techniques that reduce or eliminate the use of chemical pesticides.

    Hold site-specific demonstrations on 6-7 islands to display appropriate sustainable pest control methods for different cropping systems.

    Conduct two-day training for agricultural professionals, to include a field component.

    Provide portions of the two-day training to agricultural professionals in the U.S.-affiliated territories in the Western Pacific via video teleconferences.

    The intensive training will be followed up by field days on each of the islands where demonstrations have been established.

    Products include the training event, extension materials, a video teleconference for Pacific partners, and information developed by the project available on a website.


Working Group

We have been very successful at recruiting a diverse group of talented agricultural professionals to serve on our working group, leaders in their areas of expertise. This grant has allowed us to expand our connections throughout the Pacific as well as enrich our relationship with the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. Our current roster of workgroup participants includes:

Dr. Richard Bowen, Principal Investigator, Coordinator for UH’s Sustainable Agriculture Program, and Resource Economist, UH (Oahu)
Dr. Eileen O’Hora-Weir, Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (Hawaii Island)
Robin Shimabuku, UH CES Agent, (Maui)
Kali Arce, UH CES Agent (Molokai)
Alton Arakaki, UH CES Agent, (Molokai)
Richard Ebesu, UH CES Agent, (Kauai)
Dr. John McHugh, Entomologist, CropCare Hawaii, (Oahu)
Ivan Kawamoto, Mokichi Okada Association
Larry Shinshiro, HI NRCS State Agronomist (Oahu)
Dr. Flordeliza Javier, College of Micronesia (Pohnpei)
Dr. Robert Jackson, College of Micronesia (Pohnpei)
Dr. Mark Schmaedick, Entomologist, American Samoa Community College
Dr. Fred Brooks, Plant Pathologist, American Samoa Community College
Mr. Aufa’i Ropeti Areta, Director of Extension, American Samoa Community College
Dr. Jeff Barcinas representing the University of Guam
Dr. Jim Hollyer representing the ADAP Project (Oahu)
Jody Smith, UH Ed Specialist (Oahu), Project Assistant Coordinator

Dr. Janice Uchida, Plant Pathologist, UH (Oahu)
Dr. Brent Sipes, Nematologist, UH (Oahu)
Dr. Mark Wright, Assistant Extension Specialist, Entomologist, UH (Oahu)
Dr. Cerruti Hooks, Entomologist, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Larry Shinshiro, State Agronomist, USDA NRCS Hawaii
Dr. Michael Robotham, Tropical Technology Specialist, USDA NRCS Hawaii
Bob Shaffer, HOFA Trustee (California & Hawaii)

MINI SUSTAINABLE AG WORKSHOP: To maximize the use of the grant travel funds and to extend the educational aspects of this grant, our first workgroup meeting served as both a field day training event as well as a general meeting to supervise the grant project (August 22, UH Waimanalo Experiment Station and Nalo Farms, 20 participants). Ivan Kawamoto of the Mokichi Okada Association explained the results of an 8 year trial at the Waimanalo Experiment Station using the Japanese Nature Farming system (a variations of an organic production system). Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms hosted the group in a presentation about his sustainable pest control methods for growing high end salad greens being sold at local restaurants.

Two Day Training Event and Extension Materials

We are scheduled to hold our two-day intensive training on January 7th and 8th, 2003, in Hilo, Hawaii. We chose to hold the program in Hilo to highlight the excellent work done by HOFA (Hawaii Organic Farmers Association) which has its headquarters in Hilo. The presenters and topics are listed below:

Sustainable Insect Control for the Tropics
IPM 101 for the Tropics and Distance Diagnostics & Recommendation Service – Dr. Mark Wright, Entomologist, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Living Mulches: Valuable Allies in the War against Insect Pests – Dr. Cerruti Hooks, Entomologist, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Sustainable Plant Disease Control for the Tropics- Dr. Janice Uchida, Plant Pathologist, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Sustainable Nematode Control for the Tropics- Dr. Brent Sipes, Nematologist, University of Hawaii at Manoa

NRCS – Implementing Pest Management – Larry Shinshiro, State Agronomist, USDA NRCS

NRCS Tools for the Tropics – WIN-PST: Pesticide Screening tool – Dr. Michael Robotham, Tropical Technology Specialist, USDA NRCS

Organic Pest Control for the Tropics – Bob Shaffer, Trustee, Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA)

Field Trip – Organic Ginger Production: Hosted by Hugh Johnson, Owner: Puna Organics, Presentation by Bob Shaffer, HOFA Trustee

The program is designed to be very practical. Each presenter will begin with a brief introductory talk about their area of expertise, to establish a base level of knowledge (to attempt to address the extreme variability in the educational backgrounds of the participants). The researchers will focus on methods which have a proven track record in Hawaii and the Pacific (“favorite methods”). They will overview some of the new products and techniques being tried (compost teas, EM, etc.) giving additional information about their own particular experiences (positive/negative/none) with the products/methods. Finally, a case study will be presented for the whole group to analyze, question and comment on. This interactive session should provide abundant opportunities for networking and learning.

The program includes a field trip to Puna Organics (hosted by HOFA and Hugh Johnson) which has a history of bacterial wilt but this season was able to prevent the disease from causing economic loss. Their sustainable pest control program features extensive soil and biological analysis, innovative cover crop use and soil amendments (including compost and compost tea). An adjacent field is being prepared for next year’s crop with state of the art cover cropping to lower levels of plant parasitic nematodes.

At this time 12 CES agents, 15 NRCS professionals, 6 ag professionals and 4 local farmers have signed up for the program.

Extension Materials being prepared include PowerPoint presentations (for future use by Extension Agents and NRCS personnel), case studies, and handouts relating to each subject area.

Videoconferencing with the American Pacific

We originally planned to have one VTC presentation for Pacific partners. After further consideration we plan to hold multiple VTC programs. The following dates and training segments are being scheduled:

* Wednesday, January 29th, 2003: Dr. Janice Uchida, Sustainable Plant Disease Control for the Tropics, 1:30-2:30 Hawaii Time
* Wednesday, February 26th, 2003: Dr. Brent Sipes, Sustainable Nematode Control for the Tropics, 1:30-2:30 Hawaii Time
* Wednesday, March 26th, 2003: Dr. Mark Wright, IPM for the Tropics, 1:30-2:30 Hawaii Time

We plan to broadcast to VTC sites in Guam, Samoa, Pohnpei and Saipan and we are in the process of negotiating with our Pacific partners to confirm these dates and locations, as well as possibly organizing additional VTC sustainable agriculture programs. The typhoon in Guam has caused considerable damage and they may not be able to participate at this time.

Demonstration Sites
  • Kaua`i: Richard Ebesu, CES Agent, Field Trial Demonstration Using Reflectek Silver Mulch To Control Onion Thrips

    Maui: Robin Shimabuku, CES Agent, Disease Management Strategies for the Control of Pink Root on Sweet Onions in Hawaii (with Dr. Hector Valenzuela)

    Moloka’i: Alton Arakaki , CES Agent, Growing Vegetables in Living Shield Cover Crop (with Dr. Joe DeFrank) and Demonstration of Using Sustainable Methods to Manage Reniform Nematode, Rotylenchulus reniformis, During Fallow the Period in Sweet Potato Production (with Dr. Brent Sipes)

    Moloka`i: Kali Arce, CES Agent and Glen Fukumoto/Robert Joy, NRCS Plant Materials Center, Evaluating Melon Production and Fruit Fly Infestation with the Use of Typar (two sites).

    O`ahu: John McHugh, CropCare Hawaii, and Chris Smith, NRCS, Cover Cropping for Weed Suppression in Seed Corn Production.

    Pohnpei: Dr. Flordeliza Javier, College of Micronesia, Trials on Banana Varieties Resistant to the Black Leaf Streak

    Big Island/Hawai`i: Bob Shaffer, Hawaii Organic Farmers Association, Use of Compost, Compost Teas and Cover Cropping to control Pests of Organic Ginger (to be confirmed).

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

As we are just about to hold the major training event of this program, it is premature to project the impacts, contributions and outcomes for this project. However, at this midpoint there are signs of the following general trends occurring:

Good Balance of Participants: Many farmers are expressing interest in sustainable agriculture and have contacted us about attending the Hilo training program. We have 52 people registered at this point, and expect a few more. The roster is well diversified with representatives from CES, NRCS, agricultural consultants, colleagues from community colleges, and local farmers from the Hilo area.

Increased Interest/Information about Tropical Organic Production: Hawaii Organic Farmers Association is taking a leadership role in this project, and we anticipate that this will have many positive outcomes in the near future. This project should help disseminate important information about tropical organic production techniques, which differ in some ways from production on the mainland.

Involvement of Traditional Farming Organizations: The presence of a member of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation on the workgroup and as a sponsor of a demonstration site will likely yield positive outcomes. As traditional farming organizations become more closely involved with sustainable agriculture, barriers to adoption tend to erode.

Impacts in the Pacific Region: The University of Hawaii is viewed as a leadership institution for agriculture in the Pacific Basin. Our affiliation with the Agricultural Development in the American Pacific (ADAP)project is strengthening our network with Pacific Island colleagues. The repeated use of VTC in this project should encourage participants (both researchers and extension/NRCS staffs) to make more use of this technology to increase communication in the Pacific region.

Close Ties with NRCS: We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with our Hawaii NRCS colleagues for this project. Both CES and NRCS recognize the real value of getting field staff together periodically to share their experiences.


Richard Ebesu
CES Agent
UH Cooperative Extension Service
CES Kauai
3060 Eiwa Street #210
Lihue, HI 96766-1881
Office Phone: 8082743471
Alton Arakaki
CES Agent
UH Cooperative Extension Service
Molokai Office
PO Box 394
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Office Phone: 8085676934
Dr. Mark Wright
Assistant Professor / Extension Specialist
Univerisity of Hawaii at Manoa CTAHR
Office Phone: 8089567670
Dr. Flordeliza Javier
College of Micronesia – FSM
Cooperative Research & Extension Land Grant Prog
PO Box 159
Kolonia, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Dr. Brent Sipes
Associate Plant Pathologist
University of Hawaii at Manoa CTAHR
Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences
3020 Maile Way, Gilmore Hall 310
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089567076
Bob Shaffer
Alternative Agriculture Consultant
Dr. John McHugh
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation Env. Committee
Environmental Committee
Dr. Janice Uchida
Associate Plant Pathologist
University of Hawaii at Manoa CTAHR
Office Phone: 8089562827
Dr. Cerruti RR Hooks
Junior Entomologist
University of Hawaii at Manoa CTAHR
Office Phone: 8089562448
Larry Shinshiro
State Agronomist
USDA NRCS Hawaii State Office
Prince Kuhio Federal Bldg.
300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm 4-118
Honolulu, HI 96850
Office Phone: 8085412600
Dr. Eileen O’Hora-Weir
QC Officer
Hawaii Organic Farmers Association
PO Box 6863
Hilo, HI 96720
Office Phone: 8089697789
Robert Joy
Plant Materials Specialist
USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center
Maunaloa Highway
PO Box 236
Hoolehua, HI 96729-0236
Office Phone: 8085676885
Jody Smith
Education Specialist II
University of Hawaii at Manoa
NREM Dept Sherman Lab
1910 East West Rd
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089567774