East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT), Koppert India, and Koppert Foundation recently launched their first collaborative project, involving action research in India. This research is being implemented at EWS-KT’s Center of Excellence learning farm in Keonjhar, Odisha.
Earlier this year, EWS-KT and Koppert Foundation signed an agreement to work together on biological-control-based or nature-based methods to improve smallholder farmers’ plant health and crop performance. Koppert is a global leader in the research, development, and production of biological crop protection and natural pollination products.
Tomato bacterial wilt
The current action research project at the Center of Excellence focuses on tomato bacterial wilt—the main issue facing farmers in the area during the rainy season. Conducted from July to December 2023, the project involves two variables—soil application programs (Koppert biosolution versus farmers’ practice) and tomato varieties (susceptible variety versus variety resistant to bacterial wilt)—in four combinations.
Treatment 1: Koppert biological products with a variety resistant to bacterial wilt
Treatment 2: Koppert biological products with a variety susceptible to bacterial wilt
Treatment 3: Farmers’ common chemical practice with a variety resistant to bacterial wilt
Treatment 4: Farmers’ common chemical practice with a variety susceptible to bacterial wilt
Effectiveness biological soil treatments and resistant varieties
Bacterial wilt leads to substantial yield and income losses for tomato farmers and managing it has proved to be difficult. Chemical control methods may not be feasible due to their high cost and potential environmental risks, and biological control measures are highly recommended for disease management.
Common nature-based strategies against bacterial wilt involve integrated crop management methods such as the use of resistant varieties, healthy seed and seedlings, crop rotation, biological control, and other good agronomic practices. However, there are no universally effective control measures that can address the wide range of plant hosts affected by the pathogen. The goal of this action research is to study the effectiveness of biological soil treatments and resistant varieties in reducing the occurrence of bacterial wilt, thus improving crop yield and ensuring a profitable tomato production outcome.
We are excited to embark on this joint journey, and we look forward to future collaborations to enable smallholder farmers to grow healthy and productive crops with minimum use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.