Integrating the Farmer into Pest Management Innovation for Sweetpotatoes.

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2024: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 08/15/2026
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Koon-Hui Wang
University of Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Thao Le
University of Hawaii


  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes


  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Pest Management: biofumigation, biological control, botanical pesticides, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: green manures
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, quality of life, social psychological indicators, other

    Proposal abstract:

    There is a growing interest among plant pathologists to explore
    and investigate the human dimensions of integrated pest
    management (IPM), including efforts to understand how farmers
    access information and how their attitudes, perceptions, and
    values influence their adoption of sustainable pest management
    strategies (Chellemi, 2002; Jabbour & Noy, 2017, 2020; McRoberts
    et al., 2011; Noy & Jabbour, 2020).

    Building upon research considering the human dimensions of IPM,
    we propose conducting several case studies that model the
    translation of a pest control technique from research to
    practice.  Using a mixed-methods design of collaborative
    farm trials, we will examine the technical efficacy of
    sweetpotato pest management techniques while exploring farmers’
    perceptions and values related to sustainable pest management.

    Five participating farmers will be selected using convenience
    sampling from contacts of the researchers.  Each farmer will
    trial at least two promising biological pest management
    techniques.  Pest prevalence and damage will be recorded,
    and the farmers’ experiences and perceptions will be assessed
    through qualitative inquiry and analysis using semi-structured
    interviews, an activity log, unstructured field visits, and

    Project outputs and outcomes will be disseminated through
    debriefing meetings, extension articles, guest lectures for a
    new-farmer training program, a presentation to farm advisor
    professionals, and a peer-reviewed journal article. Furthermore,
    the participating farmers will disseminate successful techniques
    through their peer networks.  Our team aims to advance the
    success of organic sweetpotato farmers and provide a model of
    “Integrating the farmer into pest management innovation” for
    future IPM projects to improve the well-being of organic farmers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research Objectives:

    1. Demonstrate sweetpotato pest management using sustainable
      techniques including velvet bean preplant cover crop and
      indigenous Metarhizium species ‘Koo-002’ soil amendment.  
    2. Identify the values and priorities that impact farmers’
      decision making and judgment during the adoption of new
      sustainable pest control techniques.

    3. Identify key practices and/or major obstacles for using
      velvet bean preplant cover crop and indigenous Metarhizium on
      the farm for control of sweetpotato pests.

    Education Objectives:

    1. Support early adopters of velvet bean cover crop and
      Metarhizium biocontrol for sweetpotato pest management.
    2. Disseminate best practices for implementation of velvet bean
      cover crop and Metarhizium biocontrol for sweetpotato pest
    3. Disseminate strategies for research and extension that are
      aware of farmers’ priorities and values.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.