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Collaborative approaches in USAID global IPM to implement practical solutions to virus diseases by detection, diagnosis, and capacity building

Sue Tolin: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

<div>Over two decades ago the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began funding a participatory IPM project operating in four global regions with teams of U. S. scientists from entomology, phytopathology, economics, and gender studies. Toward the end of the first 5-year phase, participatory appraisals in Jamaica recognized a disease caused by a virus in the targeted non-traditional export crop, Scotch bonnet pepper. The crop’s export value had increased production acreage, demanded higher quality, and intensified scaleup of seed and seedling production. The local scientists asked the USAID project to add virologists to assist in research on the virus/vector/host pathosystem, which led to a validated IPM approach. In later phases, the expertise in virology grew as a funded ‘global theme’ provided research collaborators on virus problems across several crops and regions. One focus was on diagnosis and data compilation of viruses in various vegetable crops in up to 19 countries. Vector identity, dynamics, and control were factored into implementing IPM packages. However, tropical regions with consecutive cropping and continuous vegetation posed challenges to tactics of vector and virus reservoir management often used in temperate climates. Close monitoring of systems for producing seeds and seedlings suggested virus introduction at these steps, requiring other monitoring tactics, and confirming there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. In field and laboratory diagnostic workshops, host country scientists and students were trained to recognize symptoms associated with virus infections and to develop the capacity to conduct high-throughput, low cost detection and diagnostic procedures as independent researchers</div>