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Dr. Randy Gaugler
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
"Producing Biopesticides Through Local Cooperatives in Ethiopia as an Alternative to Using Harmful Chemical Pesticides"
Category: Agriculture: 2003
One of agriculture's key technological advancements of the last century was the development of chemical pesticides that permitted expanded food production. The downside has been widespread human poisonings, soil degradation and water contamination. Industry responded by developing new less-toxic chemicals, however they are too costly for farmers in developing countries, leaving them to rely on older highly damaging pesticides. Dr. Gaugler proposes using native nematodes (parasitic worms) to fight against the sorghum chafer, an insect pest that reduces vital sorghum yields by as much as 80%. (Sorghum is a key grain across Africa that feeds humans as well as livestock and poultry.) He will introduce an inexpensive mass production technology that will permit developing countries, specifically Ethiopia, to reproduce nematodes locally via grower cooperatives. It is anticipated that new business opportunities will result, as well as reduced use of chemicals, improved soil quality and increased yields and food security.
This Lindbergh Grant in agriculture is sponsored by The Laura Jane Musser Fund.