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Mitigation of climatic conditions and pest protection provided by insect-proof nets for cabbage cultivation in East Africa

Nordey T., Faye E., Chailleux A., Parrot L., Simon S., Mlowe N., Fernandes P.. 2020. Experimental Agriculture, 56 (4) : p. 608-619.

DOI: 10.1017/S0014479720000186

Although several studies have underlined the advantages of using insect-proof nets to improve yields while reducing the use of pesticides, one obstacle to the diffusion of this technique in tropical conditions is the associated increase in temperature in the tunnel. The aim of this work was to assess the interest of combining the physical protection provided by nets against insect pests with the beneficial impacts of using shade nets to grow cabbages. A two-season experiment was set up to compare temperature conditions, insect pest populations, yields, and the quality of cabbage crops grown in the open field and in low tunnels covered with nets providing different degrees of shading, 17.2% by white and 50.1% by silver nets. During the day, the temperature under the white and silver nets was 10.4 °C and 6.3 °C higher, respectively, than in the open field in the first season, and 6.5 °C and 5.9 °C higher in the second season. Both insect-proof nets significantly reduced insect pest populations and hence the need for insecticide treatments. The white nets increased marketable yield by 45.4% in the first season and by 16.4% in the second compared to yields in the open field, whereas silver nets reduced yield by 18.6% and 15.0%, respectively. The reduction in yield under silver nets was attributed to excessive shading that prevented the light requirements of cabbage crops from being fulfilled. Economic analysis raised some concerns about the profitability of the use of netting to grow cabbage due to investment costs and the lack of premium prices for vegetables produced with fewer pesticides in local markets.

Mots-clés : atténuation des effets du changement climatique; brassica oleracea capitata; gestion des organismes nuisibles; facteur climatique; climat tropical; protection des plantes; insecte nuisible; lutte antiravageur; république-unie de tanzanie; afrique orientale; filet de protection

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