Clemson and Africa University help vegetable growers

By Tom Lollis

entomologist Gloria McCutcheonClemson scientists are working with Africa University in Zimbabwe to help small farmers improve vegetable production, protect the environment and fight hunger.

Entomologist Gloria McCutcheon first visited Zimbabwe in 2004, sponsored by the United Methodist Church, to teach students, technicians and farmers how to identify the families of insects that are important as biological control of crop pests.

“The goal is to help small farmers increase yields of leafy greens, be good stewards of the environment, and produce foods without excessive pesticide residues,” McCutcheon said. She is principal investigator for the project and Powell Smith, Extension vegetable entomologist, is co-investigator. McCutcheon is stationed at Clemson’s Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston; while Smith is at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville.

Since many vegetable crops grown in Zimbabwe are similar to those grown in South Carolina, McCutcheon hopes Clemson scientists can find natural enemies of plant pests that can be imported to this country to help protect crops here.

The universities’ partnership has created a graduate assistantship. Walter Manyangarirwa will work this summer at the Edisto Center with Smith and McCutcheon, then return to Zimbabwe next year to teach students at Africa University.

For information: Gloria McCutcheon, 843-536-5385,