Controlling Crop Pests and Diseases

by Rosalyn Rappaport

This book is written for extension workers, government or non-government. It is especially for those who train others in extension methods and who also wish to address pest issues. Written in a friendly textbook style, the book is eager to please its readers. The text is a stream of useful, interesting and easy-to-read information about various crop pests. Its technical drawings and illustrations are concise, unambiguous--and best of all, abundant.

However, readers may choose to take or leave the cartoons found at the end of each four-to five-page unit. Meant to depict village life, the cartoons will amuse some readers and inspire others. They are generally sophomoric and unreal, yet the instructional "how to" drawings are quite clear. If you like the marriage of practical and cute, this book is for you.

The book's middle unit on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) cites several guiding rules of pest control: eliminate only the pest, not its predators or inhibitors; no undue damage to the environment nor its inhabitants; favor cultural controls over chemicals. A fourth rule is to plant well-adapted native varieties. The brief discussion on food chains will be appreciated. On the other hand, a lengthy unit on basic sprayer mechanics implies complicity with the nozzlehead crowd.

Still, all of the information is useful and appropriately presented. Moreover, the units on village-available insecticides are excellent. Here readers will learn pertinent facts and tips about neem, pyrethrum, derris (the source of rotenone), chili pepper spray, garlic solution, several insecticidal plants, soaps, oils, and mineral- and animal-based insecticides. A brief unit on integrated disease management is thoughtful and worthwhile reading. Also of merit is the periodic mention of pest management record keeping.

Conclusion? Go ahead and check this book out for yourself, or for your favorite extension agent.

Rappaport, Rosalyn. 1992. Controlling Crop Pests and Diseases. Tropical Agricultural Extension Handbooks. Macmillan Press.


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