Pest management research aids SC and Asia

By Tom Lollis

Pest management

Clemson scientists are part of an international effort to protect the environment and boost crop production through integrated pest management. The five-year program includes nine research partners and is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

While the program is targeted for developing countries, half the grant funds will be used for research projects at Clemson that address problems faced by South Carolina farmers.

“Our focus will be on cocoa in the island of Sulawesi inIndonesia and vegetables on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines,” said Merle Shepard, team leader and entomologist at Clemson’s Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston.

Sixty percent of the world’s cocoa is produced in Indonesia,where a pest called the cocoa pod borer can cause 30 to 40 percent losses in yields. “More than 70,000 people in the United States are employed in the chocolate industry, so control of the borer has implications for them and for chocolate lovers as well,” said Shepard.

Other Clemson team members include entomologist Gerald Carner and agricultural economist Mike Hammig.

For information: Merle Shepard, 843-402-5398,