Diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) in Southern Africa: Research trends, challenges and insights on sustainable management options

Honest Machekano, Brighton M. Mvumi, Casper Nyamukondiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, is a global economic pest of brassicas whose pest status has been exacerbated by climate change and variability. Southern African small-scale farmers are battling to cope with increasing pressure from the pest due to limited exposure to sustainable control options. The current paper critically analysed literature with a climate change and sustainability lens. The results show that research in Southern Africa (SA) remains largely constrained despite the region's long acquaintance with the insect pest. Dependency on broad-spectrum insecticides, the absence of insecticide resistance management strategies, climate change, little research attention, poor regional research collaboration and coordination, and lack of clear policy support frameworks, are the core limitations to effective DBM management. Advances in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) techniques for sustainable pest management have not benefitted small-scale horticultural farmers despite the farmers' high vulnerability to crop losses due to pest attack. IPM adoption was mainly limited by lack of locally-developed packages, lack of stakeholders' concept appreciation, limited alternatives to chemical control, knowledge paucity on biocontrol, climate mismatch between biocontrol agents' origin and release sites, and poor research expertise and funding. We discuss these challenges in light of climate change and variability impacts on small-scale farmers in SA and recommend climate-smart, holistic, and sustainable homegrown IPM options propelled through IPM-Farmer Field School approaches for widespread and sustainable adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number91
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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