Education helps Nepalese farmers strengthen seed supply, protect crops

Head shot of Rayapati
Dr. Naidu Rayapati

Strengthening seeds and crops against devastating diseases to help local farmers achieve food security, work by an international team of scientists is bearing fruit in Nepal.

For more than five years, Naidu Rayapati, WSU plant pathologist, IAREC director and CAHNRS assistant dean at WSU Tri-Cities, has partnered with scientists at Virginia Tech’s IPM Innovation Lab, funded by USAID’s Feed the Future program, offering trainings and workshops in Nepal on sustainable pest and disease management.

Scientists display plant specimens in an outdoor workshop.
Rayapati and colleagues display virus-infected chillies at an IPM Innovation Lab training in Nepal.

His work was featured recently in a success story on Samir Regmi, whose agricultural supply company in Nepal found success through integrated pest management, or IPM. Business is booming for Regmi, as he sells virus-free seeds for tomatoes, chilis, and other crops.

Offering a sustainable approach to pest management that relies on predators and an understanding of pest and disease cycles and shelters, IPM helps decrease our reliance on synthetic pesticides. Education in IPM is an important tool in strengthening seed supply systems to maintain enduring vegetable crops and food security globally.

Training courses and field workshops not only help subsistence farmers learn about new pests and diseases, says Rayapati, “they help agri-business owners become aware of serious crop issues, like viruses spreading through compromised seed. They can then improve their business prospects by providing clean seed.”

Results of that outreach can be seen in bountiful, healthy harvests in Nepal, and in the success of  local businesses like Samir Regmi’s.

Read the full story, “Agri-business Blooms out of IPM Innovation Lab Partnership,” here.