Status of sucking insect pests in cashew growing locations of South and Central Zones, Tanzania
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Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is an economically important cash crop for many rural households in Tanzania. However, its production is constrained by some insect pests and diseases. As a precondition for the development of a more sustainable integrated insect pest management strategy for cashew, information on the incidence and severity of cashew sucking insect pests in a changing environment is required. Field surveys were conducted in the major and minor cashew producing areas of Tanzania in two phases, February to March 2019 during the vegetative season and July to August 2019 during reproduction season. The surveys were conducted in 24 cashew fields in six districts (Liwale, Masasi, Nachingwea, Manyoni, Kongwa and Mpwapwa) in southern and central agricultural research zones in Tanzania. Data on a number of shoots infected by sucking insect pests, i.e. black lesion, leaf damage, dieback level, pest counts and counts of natural enemies were collected from the two zones. Data showed that incidence and diversity of sucking cashew insect pests differed in terms of abundance and distribution within cashew fields in the central and southern zones. Liwale and Kongwa districts recorded higher incidence and severity followed by Mpwapwa, Masasi, Manyoni and Nachingwea districts, respectively. In general, insect pests affecting cashew production in selected locations of southern and central Tanzania have been known in terms of identity (genus level), abundance and distribution; therefore, more efforts on the study should be made on identification to species level to formulate management measures to each specie.