Original Research

A survey of plants used by rural small-scale farmers to control pests of cabbage in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Nolitha L. Skenjana, Maxwell A. Poswal
Journal of Medicinal Plants for Economic Development | Vol 2, No 1 | a57 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jomped.v2i1.57 | © 2018 Leonora Skenjana NL | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 February 2018 | Published: 30 July 2018

About the author(s)

Nolitha L. Skenjana, Dohne Agricultural Development Institute, South Africa
Maxwell A. Poswal, Dohne Agricultural Development Institute, South Africa


Background: Resource-poor small-scale farmers often cannot afford the high prices of chemical insecticides to control pests on crops; as a result, some use botanical insecticides.


Aim: The aim of the study was to document ethnobotanical pest control methods used by rural small-scale farmers to control pests of cabbage in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.


Setting: 217 rural small-scale crop-producing farmers from 14 towns in the Amathole, Joe Gqabi, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani and OR Tambo Districts participated in the study.


Methods: Questionnaires were administered to consenting farmers between July and November in 2012, using the convenience and stratified purposive sampling techniques. Data collected were subjected to descriptive statistical analysis.


Results: The majority of farmers using botanical insecticides were females above the age of 60 years. The farmers identified 23 plants, which they use in their pest control strategies against seven pests of cabbage. The annual herb Tagetes minuta L. (Asteraceae) was cited as the most commonly used herb by 47% of the respondents, followed by Chenopodium ambrosioides L. (Chenopodiceae), Aloe ferox Mills. (Asphodelaceae) and Nicotiana tabacum L. (Solanaceae). Various plant parts were used in combinations or alone in the preparation of formulations mainly against aphids, cutworms and the diamondback moth.


Conclusion: The plants, plant parts, combinations and formulations used by farmers in their cabbage pest control strategies need to be scientifically authenticated for efficacy.


plants; pests; agricultural development


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