Vegetable farmers in East Africa have the choice of a new insecticide when fighting pesticides following the launch of ‘Radiant’ by Lachlan Kenya and Dow AgroSciences of France.
The insecticide is aimed at small insects like worms, thrips and leaf miners which cause significant losses in vegetables. Radiant is also active on diamondback moth and other pests.
According to Mr Angus Ker, Lachlan Kenya’s sales and marketing director, the pesticide will be available in local outlets in three weeks.
“The product is to be repackaged and then released into the market in units that are ideal for both large and small-scale farmers and vegetable growers,” said Mr Ker, adding that the insecticide would be formally launched in Naivasha during the Naivasha Horticultural Fair 2011 scheduled for September 16-17. Similar launches will be in Rongai and Nanyuki.
Mr Mario Vietto, Dow AgroSciences Africa head of marketing, said that Radiant is effective against a wide variety of pests but not harmful to beneficial insects.
“Radiant provides a broad spectrum of pest control while maintaining populations of most beneficial insects. It has short re-entry, a three-day pre-harvest interval, low use rates, and has minimal personal protective requirements making it a convenient, cheaper and easy-to-use product,” he said.
Among its other qualities is that it offers fast knock-down against pests and is ideal for rotational use in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes. It provides sharp, consistent protection from insects between sprays and may either remain on the surface or penetrate into the leaf to control insects both by contact and ingestion (called translaminar activity).
The US Environmental Protection Agency has accepted it for registration and is labeled for use in bulbs, fruiting, leafy and root vegetables, cole crops, corn, cucurbits, legumes, potatoes, soybeans and strawberries. In this regard, local farmers who use Radiant have no fear of their produce being rejected in the US.
Small-holder vegetable farmers suffer most from insect pests due to lack of resources to purchase insecticides. To meet the special needs of this market segment, Mr Kithinji Anampiu, Dow AgroSciences East Africa Territory Manager, said that Radiant would be available in 30-millilitre packaging.
“Radiant’s low-cost effectiveness should not be seen in terms of being cheap but in terms of the wide range of pests it acts against which in turn does way with the need to purchase and apply multiple pesticides on vegetable farms,” said Mr Anampiu.
To ensure efficacy, Lachlan always tests any pesticide on its 5-acre trial plot before releasing into the market, said Mr Ker, who added that the plot has over 40 crop varieties.
“I can put Radiant among the top three insecticides I have handled recently. When launched, its price is also going to be very encouraging,” was his parting shot.
By Michael Ouma