Farmer evaluation of fortenza duo technology in the control of fall armyworm in Zambia.

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Chanda, Moses.M.
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The University of Zambia
The arrival of Fall Army Worm (FAW) in Africa and Zambia specifically has made the situation worse for the farmers who already experience low crop productivity. However, Syngenta developed an insecticide called Fortenza duo, a seed coating pesticide which according to the company can protect crops from FAW attack in the first 30 days after germination. Fortenza duo can therefore help to reduce farmers’ financial costs and labour demand. However, no study has been conducted in Zambia to evaluate the efficacy of Fortenza duo on farmer fields. Before rolling out and encourage the farmers to adopt this technology in the country, it’s important to carry out farmer evaluation of fortenza duo technology to assess its effectiveness, and that was the aim of the study. The objectives of the study were: To assess farmers’ preference for Fortenza duo treated maize as compared to other non-treated hybrid and local varieties; to assess the criteria farmers consider important when choosing pesticide; and to evaluate the effectiveness of fortenza duo technology in controlling FAW in farmers’ crop fields. A survey was conducted with 153 treatment farmers and 162 control farmers, and a follow-up was done to a subset of 35 treatment farmers. A participatory survey was conducted with 202 farmers to evaluate the maize demonstration plots, and another survey was conducted with 44 farmers invited to evaluate a maize trial treated with fortenza duo. The study used descriptive and statistical analyses, including ordinal and mixed regression analysis. The results showed that Fortenza duo is effective in controlling FAW attack to maize. Using fortenza duo will delay FAW attack by over 2 weeks as compared to non-treated seeds, statistically significant at p-value 0.0001. The severity of the infestation will also be minimal with fortenza treated seeds. Fortenza duo is also socially, economic and environmentally suitable to the farmers in terms of reduced labour, cost, health risk, and it’s convenient to use. Treated maize with fortenza duo is also preferred to untreated maize in terms of vigor, stalk thickness, cob size, grain size and yield. Based on the effectiveness, fortenza duo technology should be encouraged for adoption to the farmers for the prevention of FAW in Zambia. Key words: FAW, Fortenza duo, Evaluation, Effectiveness, Ordinal regression, Mixed regression
Fall armyworm