The ORCA Centres and Topics

ORCA Centres

The eleven ORCA Centres will cover 22 topics related to organic agriculture.


Pest and Disease Management

Organic agriculture requires farmers and processors to rely on preventive, cultural, and physical methods of pest and disease management rather than chemical inputs. Botanical pesticides are used, but only when biological and cultural practices, such as crop rotations, crop diversification, and beneficial organism releases fail. Additionally, questions remain on the phytotoxicity and compatibility when mixing these botanical pesticides.

Organic farmers and processors continue to ask for development of organic pest management protocols, bioregion organic crop and pest management strategies, and models of weed population dynamics under different cover crop, tillage, and crop rotation management strategies. They seek better knowledge on pest life cycles and natural hosts, natural enemies, prey and predators, habitats that accommodate beneficial organisms, the potential of breeding for resistance, and the identification of critical periods for weed control.

Several universities and institutions in the north also have robust research in the area. Currently, far fewer institutions are conducting this research in developing countries, but efforts are beginning. For example, scientists in the African Organic Center of Excellence at Uganda Martyrs University and some of the CGIAR network institutions are now conducting research on organic pest and disease management.

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