, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 49-63

Traditional knowledge and pest management in the Guatemalan highlands

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Abstract

Adoption of integrated pest management(IPM) practices in the Guatemalan highlands has beenlimited by the failure of researchers andextensionists to promote genuine farmer participationin their efforts. Some attempts have been made toredress this failure in the diffusion-adoptionprocess, but farmers are still largely excluded fromthe research process. Understanding farmers'agricultural knowledge must be an early step toward amore participatory research process. With this inmind, we conducted a semi-structured survey of 75Cakchiquel Maya farmers in Patzún, Guatemala, tobegin documenting their pest control practices. Theirresponses revealed that their understanding ofbiological and curative pest control is limited.However, their broad knowledge of cultural preventivepest control practices could explain why they hadfaced few pest problems in their traditionalmilpa (intercrop of corn, beans, and other edibleplants). The majority of these preventive practicesare probably efficient and environmentallyinnocuous.