Integrating local natural products into pest management systems and the local economic base of Sahelian/Near-Sahelian Mali
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In the past four years, we have identified a local natural product with pest management potential in preharvest and postharvest IPM systems and, possibly, in health maintenance systems. We have tested byproducts of the plant and developed several formulations appropriate for use in villages in Mali. Full utilization of this plant, Azadirachta indica, requires the use of a press. A manual press was introduced into the four villages where we conducted the Participatory Assessments in 1994 and collaborated with the farmers in on-farm research since 1994. The press is owned by IER and was brought to each village by the scientists and technicians for the farmers to test. Although the operation of this manual press, the results with the various insecticidal products, and the labor involved in collecting the material (neem seeds) and preparing it for use were all considered positive by the farmers, lack of access to the manual press (not currently available in the villages) presented problems. We then investigated the existence of other local natural products with known economic value that could be produced in the same manual press. These presses, manufactured in Bamako and Mopti, Mali, can also be used for producing peanut oil, sesame oil, and oil of poughere. All of these seeds are produced in the four villages where we focus our IPM CRSP project. Peanut oil and sesame oil are highly valued, but because they are produced commercially in Bamako, the price is relatively high in the main markets (Mourdiah and Sirakorola) where these villagers purchase supplies. Poughere oil is used fuel for light and for engines. Since these villages are not yet electrified, a source of light and energy to run small engines inexpensively is very exciting. The villages have suggested that they would be interested in making an antimicrobial soap using the neem kernal extract (NKE) produced with the manual press and their local soap production process. The problem still remained of who should "loan" the first press to the first villager entrepreneur and of how repayment from the profits should be guaranteed. Development of this loan-credit-replacement process was then suggested by a Malian NGO, Groupe de Recherches et d'Applications Techniques (GRAT), and a Malian (Bamako) branch of a Washington, D.C. based NGO, Appropriate Technologies, Inc. (ATI). USAID-Bamako provided a source of funds that could be requested. Plans for a market analysis/feasibility study by GRAT, ATI, and the scientists/economists at l'Institute Economie Rurale (IER) were suggested. This story is presented as one example of how use of natural products in an IPM program can also be integrated into the economic base of the community and have a broad effect that extends beyond pest management exclusively.