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 lead for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management that works to protect plants from pests, ultimately helping to feed the world’s growing population.

Through research and extension activities with farmers, counterpart universities, and host-country research institutes, the Innovation Lab promotes ecologically sustainable pest and disease control strategies.

In the current phase, the Innovation Lab has helped farmers avoid the use of toxic chemical pesticides to eliminate crop pests and diseases in 7 countries. For example, in Vietnam, degradable paper bags were used to protect mangoes, while a naturally occuring fungus called Trichoderma protected plants from disease in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and elsewhere. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, the Innovation Lab uses natural enemies to fight Parthenium, an invasive weed that displaces native plants and taints meat and dairy products.

Currently, the Innovation Lab is exploring research to help combat the fall armyworm, a pest that is posing a dangerous threat to crops in Africa and Asia.

For more, visit IPM Innovation Lab.