Many local plants can be used to protect harvested crops from pests. What plants have traditionally been used within your community? Many new introduced plants may also be useful to reduce pest damage.
- Neem (Azadirachta indica) and Cassia vine (Cassia nigricans) leaves can be dried and mixed in with grains. The leaves can also be powdered and mixed with traditional plaster and used to coat the inside of the grain store. Ginger roots and chillies can also be dried and powdered and mixed with grains.
- Another useful plant is the wild water melon or bitter apple (Citrullus colocynthis) which is related to the water melon. The dried pulp of fully grown but still unripe fruits can be mixed with grains or mixed into plaster for coating grain stores.
- Discuss any local plants known to be effective against pests. If possible, invite a local herbalist or an elder person to attend and learn from their knowledge. Do they continue to use such plants?
- Do any participants have experience of using any of these methods? What were the results? If possible, obtain samples of some of these plants and try out the ideas. Again, compare their effectiveness after a few weeks and a few months.
- Remember that some plants may be poisonous. Always wash grains very well before cooking and eating.