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Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab

Muni
IPM Innovation Lab Director Muni Muniappan assesses damage on dragon fruit in Vietnam

Since 1993, Virginia Tech’s Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED) has served as the home for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, a program that works to protect plants from pests, ultimately helping to feed the world’s rapidly growing population.

Through research and extension activities with farmers, counterpart universities, and host-country research institutions, the IPM Innovation Lab promotes ecologically sustainable pest and disease control strategies, and has done so in nearly 30 countries around the world.

Key program objectives include:

  • measurably reduce crop losses due to pests
  • increase farmer income
  • reduce chemical pesticide use
  • reduce residues on export crops
  • improve IPM research, extension, and education program capabilities
  • improve ability to monitor pests
  • increase the ability of women in IPM decision-making and program design

In addition to bringing natural crop solutions to millions of farmers around the world, the program has generated nearly $2 billion in economic benefits for developing countries, funded 500+ graduate students, and collaborated with more than 100 institutions. 

In the current phase, the IPM Innovation Lab helps farmers avoid the use of toxic chemical pesticides to eliminate crop pests and diseases in eight projects in seven countries. For example, in Vietnam, degradable paper bags are used to protect mangoes, while in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and elsewhere, a naturally occurring fungus called Trichoderma protects plants from disease and increases job opportunities for women. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, the IPM Innovation Lab uses natural enemies to fight Parthenium, an invasive weed that displaces native plants and taints meat and dairy products. In Nepal, the program models and manages the spread of Tuta absoluta, an invasive tomato pest. Throughout Asia and Africa, the IPM Innovation Lab is exploring research on using local natural enemies to help combat the fall armyworm, a pest that poses a major threat to maize and numerous other crops.

For more information, visit IPM Innovation Lab.