African Dryland Alliance for Pesticidal Plant Technologies:
A network for optimising and promoting the use of indigenous botanical knowledge for food security and poverty alleviation in Africa



Activities in the ADAPPT project are broken down into six different workpackages, each managed by a different project partner. A brief summary of the activities and their expected deliverables can be found below.

WP 1: Management, Monitoring and Evaluation of Project

Lead partner NRI-UoG overall project management

• Coordinate all activities among partners
• Ensure timely reporting to the ACP S&T programme as instructed at the project outset
• Ensure all activities are carried out to time and to budget.
• Implement communication strategy for project outputs
• Participatory M & E

Project size, complexity and level of integration/interdependency among different project actions require strict delivery and adherence to project timelines. Partners must work together to achieve project outputs.

Description of work
Project inception workshop. A one-week project inception workshop will be held at the outset to enable all partners to define the procedures for working together to establish the network and achieving the project outputs.
We will review the contractual arrangements for the financial control of the project and for the assessment of the agreed tasks and deliverables. Work package managers will be assigned present strategies and protocols to be accepted after discussion by all partners.
The workshop will include training where needed, especially for standardised procedures that need to be followed by different partners.
Follow-up coordination meetings. Formal meetings will be organised each year with representation from each partner. These will coincide with network meetings that will engage more widely with scientists, policy makers and agricultural technicians across the region (described in WP2 below). In order to provide the project with independent evaluation and ensure key stakeholders are informed of progress, experts and end users will be invited to participate. Presentations from each work package leader will summarise projected outputs as optimised by the discussion at this inception meeting. Discussions about progress, potential deviations from the work plan and forward planning will be standing items at each meeting.
Activity reporting. Partners will prepare a two-page activity report every three to six months depending on the contract rules. The lead applicant and work package managers will use these to assess whether work progresses to plan and take action to minimise the effects of delays on other project activities.
Annual progress reports. Annual reports will be provided as instructed by the ACP S&T programme. Work package leaders will be responsible for collating information and making a single WP-report. The lead applicant will be responsible for integrating these into a single full report. A similar approach will be used to prepare the final project report covering information from all project years.
Project communication strategy. Implementation of the project communication strategy .

• Project activity and financial reporting delivered on time and as instructed by the project guidance
• Website built based on current site
• Communication strategy implemented via project website forum and through ADAPT network meetings.
• External Advisory Board assembled.

Efficiency of partners’ organisations are affected by political or institutional problems that affect carrying out activities or financial reporting.
External Advisory Board are not all able to attend ADAPT network meetings. Feedback can be delivered via other members of this review group.
Staff changes at consortium institutions, although none anticipated.

WP 2: Development and establishment of Pan-African pesticidal plants network – ADAPT

Lead partner NRI-UoG

• Establish and consolidate a network of scientists, policy makers, NGOs and agricultural technicians - working in collaboration with farmers - to develop, optimise and promote pesticidal plants for poverty alleviation
• Strengthen cooperation of different stakeholders and build links from farms to government to directly influence policy and move farming practice to environmentally benign pest management.
• Develop capacity in network members to better capitalize on research results through inter-network collaborations and information exchange forums.
• The network will develop policy guidelines that are valid nationally and internationally to promote the sustainable use of pesticidal plants and strategies to commercialise these materials at the farmer and SME level for wealth generation and poverty alleviation.

Literature searches in national and international journals along with various grey literature indicates that there are numerous scientists and other individuals working on the evaluation development and optimisation pesticidal plants. Most of these individuals or small groups operate in isolation and consequently few outputs benefit from the multi-disciplinary approaches that are the hallmark of high quality research. The work rarely progresses beyond a publication in national journals and thus has poor distribution and readership. Too many questions remain unanswered due to a lack of an intellectual and practical support network to enable them to fully and robustly evaluate these materials or determine their potential value in farmers’ fields and ultimately develop preparations and applications that are appropriate technologies for resource poor farmers. A network of scientists, NGOs and agricultural technicians across Africa will provide a platform on which these important and effective alternatives to financially and environmentally costly commercial pesticides can be optimised, expanded and fully exploited to improve the livelihoods of Africa’s poorest farmers.
An external advisory group constituting international experts in the field will be assembled to provide the project with independent monitoring and evaluation to ensure that project activities are planned and carried out with the best possible chance of success.

Addresses MDG 8 Develop a global partnership to development

Description of work
Network. Considerable ethno-botanical expertise exists at institutions and universities in African countries and will be brought together under the ADAPT network. Links to and input from international institutes and organisations including ICRAF, ICRISAT, RBG-Kew and NRI as well as forums set up during a former project phase ( will provide the foundation for the network and input expertise to help establish research frameworks to help convert research outputs into development tools that can address crop protection and grain storage issues for farmers and be developed into market products.
Research Coordination: Research being conducted by network partners will be coordinated to ensure that the activities do not overlap but rather are additive and collaborative. Multiple inputs from different partners with different expertise will result in more robust outcomes and higher quality results and publications with greater likelihood of enabling uptake to products that will have rapid impact and provide development technologies for improving livelihoods of poor farmers.
Stakeholder participation. The network will engage widely with stakeholders including farmers and small agro-veterinary business to consult and debate the needs and circumstances by which pesticidal plant use can be exploited to provide reliable food security, promoted widely and optimised. In particular ADAPT network partners will organise in-country workshops to build intra-national networks for training and provide a route for information transfer to a wider body of scientists, technologists, NGOs and extension services and ultimately to farmers than would be feasible through the international ADAPT network meetings. It is imperative that these national level meetings include representative farmers so that their needs and circumstances can be delivered directly to those developing research programmes and formulating national agricultural policies. Communication within the ADAPT network will be two-way.
Policy development: Pesticidal plants do not provide a revenue stream for larger businesses or generate income, via taxes, for government and may thus receive less attention in drawing up agriculture policies at the national level than they deserve. The projects intra-national networks, with evidence and personnel support from the ADAPT network will lobby national programmes for the expansion of pesticidal plant use in developing agricultural policy.
Communication network: The website of the current pesticidal plant research project ( will be adapted to host internet-based communication among ADAPT network partners and other network associates via email forums and also for the dissemination of ADAPT activities and pesticidal plant information about optimised uses, research results, health and safety issues, commercialisation, propagation and conservation to the wider agricultural research community across all ACP countries and worldwide. Presently the web site receives several hundred visits per month from more than 50 countries worldwide.
International conference: The network will host one international conference on applied pesticidal plant research and provide an opportunity to communicate the research outputs and activities of the ADAPT network to the international scientific community including participants from non-African ACP states and elsewhere. The proceedings will be published in a special issue of an internationally refereed journal e.g., International Journal of Pest Management, International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, or Crop Protection for which the project leader is on the Editorial Board. This will help to reinforce the importance of high quality in research methods design, data collection, archiving, analysis and reporting since each contributed paper for submission will be reviewed under normal journal criteria and the prospect of publishing in a journal of this calibre will be promoted in the early days of the project. Potential participants will therefore have time during the project to develop and apply new skills with the aim of producing a publication of internationally recognised quality.
Research quality parameters: Define and promote peer review and evaluation procedures and indicators among network members to optimise the quality of work being carried out across the region on pesticidal plants.

• 3 annual meetings of ADAPT network.
• 4 additional ADAPT partner meetings including the inception meeting
• ADAPT network website built as pesticidal plant forum
• African dryland pesticidal plant database constructed
• Additional communication between partners as collaborations and cooperation grows
• Policy document developed to guide optimisation and promotion
• At least 10 research papers in internationally refereed journals
• International conference hosted in one of the key African partner countries with proceedings published in international journal.

Cooperation of scientists towards a collaborative rather than competitive research environment will take time.
Attendances of so many participants at meetings can not be guaranteed and so may compromise outcomes.

WP 3: Develop instruments for collaborative research through capacity building and training

Lead partner University of Zimbabwe

• Capacity to determine research needs and gaps in development and promotion of pesticidal plants across ADAPT network states established
• Capacity increased to influence formulation of research policy by ensuring partners are informed to affect change and implement policies
• Capacity to prepare and submit proposals to research funding calls enhanced.
• Quality of research results improved.
• Research protocols developed and shared

The editorial experience of ADAPT project partners refereeing submissions to various international journals, e.g., Crop Protection, Phytochemistry, Bulletin of Entomological Research, Journal of Stored Products Research and International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, is that a considerable proportion of research on pesticidal plants from African research institutes lacks sufficient quality in research methods design, data collection, archiving and analysis and also reporting to be accepted. As a consequence most submissions from the continent are not successful. This is an important loss of information to the wider scientific community but could be addressed through appropriate training and capacity building. This work package will aim directly to raise the level of research quality among the ADAPT partners and their national networks.
An essential component of developing the project’s exit strategy will be to ensure that the ADAPT network members continue research and development work on pesticidal plants beyond the life time of this proposed project. This needs to continue at the higher standards cultivated during the proposed project as explained above while exploiting the collaborative teams established across the continent by the ADAPT network. These multiple nation teams will not only provide the benefits of multidisciplinary approaches but will also provide international donors with more attractive funding opportunities since at present donors are frequently faced with single institute submissions that are limited in their scope and skills diversity. More people need training in numerous techniques including PRAs, laboratory and on-farm evaluation, suitable for determining toxicity, bio-safety, activity, PRAs, laboratory evaluation to provide outputs with real value to advancing and optimising pesticidal plant application.

Description of work
Provide guidance and training based on international experience for the development of African-led project proposals. Emphasis will be given to establishing good financial records, robust administrative management and the importance of timely inputs and output delivery by involved staff. The ADAPT network provides an opportunity to determine and guide policy formulation at national and regional levels. Therefore, defining technical instruments (e.g. tax incentives), and strengthening legislation related to property rights will be important aspects of capacity building.
The ADAPT network will assemble the means of independently evaluating research, proposals and project ideas on pesticidal plants. A broad overview of research activities will be undertaken on the pesticidal plant research in Africa since much work has been done but has had little impact on farmers’ needs. The outcome will be to strengthen and upgrade the competencies of the pesticidal plant technology community through the production of a research framework that clearly defines research methods and the management of large well-funded multinational research collaborations.
Workshops: Organise training workshop at regional and national levels to strengthen and upgrade the competencies of scientific network members. At least 8 workshops will be held that provide formal tutoring for network partners
i) Habitat surveys and plant data-basing (RBG-KEW to lead)
ii) Evaluation of pesticidal plant materials against stored products pests, field pests and livestock to quality control pesticidal plant products (University of Zimbabwe to lead)
iii) Micro propagation of effective pesticidal plant species limited by their natural distribution or abundance (RBG-Kew to lead)
iv) Horticultural Propagation and seed germination of wild plants (ICRAF to lead)
v) Participatory Rural Appraisals and livelihoods studies (NRI-UoG to lead)
vi) Promotion and marketing techniques (SAFIRE to lead)
vii) Project management (funding and logistical). Some experience gained as different partners manage their own work package. (NRI-UoG to lead)
viii) United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, intellectual property rights and indigenous ownership. (RBG-Kew to lead)
Database: Comprehensive electronic database of pesticidal plants occurring and used in African dry lands, particularly Caesalpinioid woodlands. Based on indigenous knowledge surveys. Uses collated and supported by all known literature.
Policy Document: Policy document highlighting conservation targets and solutions and regulatory frameworks.

• Simple protocols on the best way to use pesticidal plant materials, produced for farmers and NGOs.
• Facts sheets in local languages providing instructions for the safe and effective use of local pesticidal plants produced.
• Focus strengthen and upgrade the competencies of the agricultural research community – research methods
• At least 10 scientists or students per country in eight countries trained in aspects of pesticidal plant research, development and deployment
• At least 24 scientists (3 per country) across the whole network trained in proposal writing for international funding bodies
• 3 multidisciplinary taskforces established on identified knowledge gaps

Suitable candidates are available for training. Past experience on similar actions suggests this risk is very low.

WP 4: Dissemination of outputs and promotion for raising awareness and improving access to information

Lead partner Egerton University

• Raise awareness through policy briefs at government and policy level of the importance of pesticidal plants to addressing the MDGs
• Raising awareness of the importance and economic value of using pesticidal plants to farmers through publicity material, mass media and farmer field schools.
• Raising the quality of research outputs by guiding the dissemination of research results in high impact internationally refereed journals.
• Provide a website to facilitate network activities communication and information on technical and application of pesticidal plant materials.
• Development of bio-safety protocols for botanical pesticides

Surveys of farmers across southern Africa in recent previous projects indicate that the economic value of pesticidal plants in crop production and food security is well understood by farmers, extension workers, NGOs and many scientists. However, to enable broader uptake at national levels in network member states and across Africa, the application, propagation and commercialisation of these materials needs to be taken up through national government programs. Previous work has shown that the application of plant materials can be optimised to improve efficacy, reduce inputs and environmental costs. This knowledge needs to be delivered to farmers through various promotional processes including the distribution of information leaflets as well as popular media including TV, radio and newspapers.

Description of work
Production of policy document setting out detailed information on uptake pathways for pesticidal plant use in each network member state, the hurdles and processes to facilitate promotion and information dissemination.
Media organisations are already well known to many of the partners and will be engaged to maximise the opportunities to disseminate information about pesticidal plants via radio, TV and newspapers as well as through community based forums such as farmer field schools and village posters.
Current research work of partners on parallel active research projects will benefit from ADAPT network input to raise the quality of submissions to higher quality journals.
Standard toxicological procedures of botanical pesticides and their bioactive constituents use acute and sub-chronic mammalian toxicity (oral, dermal and inhalation) in rabbits or rats with LD/LC50 values indicating the levels of toxicity. The ADAPT network will provide a discussion forum on toxicological analysis of plant materials to identify ways of evaluating their toxicity robustly while minimising the harm to which mammals, whether bred for purpose or otherwise are usually subjected. The importance of toxicity against beneficial insects, such as pollinator bees and predators, will also be evaluated.

• Publicity material for ADAPT network and pesticidal plant use more generally.
• Programmes promoting the safe and effective use of pesticidal plants aired on radio and television.
• 10 research papers in internationally refereed journals.
• Farmer and NGO workshops held to inform the wider community about the use of pesticidal plants.
• Biosafety data on non-target organisms including man and the environment

Cooperation and interest of journalists and media organisations can be maintained

WP 5: Development and promotion of sustainable production of botanical pesticides through propagation and conservation

Lead partner Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

• Generate data on propagation criteria for pesticidal plant materials that are sought after, rare and/or commonly used by people living in African dryland eco-regions.
• Develop improved cultivation and harvesting protocols for wild-collected plants at risk of over-collection
• Develop improved methods of collecting pesticidal plants that optimises bioactivity
• Advance the Pesticidal Plants database

Deforestation and loss of natural habitats continues to pose serious environmental challenges and maintaining these natural habitats will play a crucial role in mitigating climate change. Forest and woodlands also conserve biodiversity, soil and water resources and, when managed sustainably, can strengthen local and national economies and promote the well-being of present and future generations. The Savannah woodlands that cover large areas of African drylands are an excellent example of this type of natural habitat where human pressure of population and agricultural land needs as well as the conversion of indigenous forest to exotic tree timber production has devastated vast swathes of the natural woodland across Africa. Pesticidal plants illustrate the importance of maintaining biodiversity in natural habitats. Without these natural forest stands, the source of many pesticidal plant materials is being lost and the potential for the discovery of new materials is reduced.
The use of pesticidal plants collected from the wild is only sustainable if small numbers of people use the plant, if the plant is abundant and ubiquitous or if it can be propagated easily. Demand for some pesticidal plants is outstripping supply, particularly as other factors mentioned above put pressure on the dwindling woodlands. There is little knowledge about growing and propagating pesticidal plant species, making attempts to cultivate them difficult. Variation in farmer practice and lack of phytochemical knowledge makes it difficult to know which are the optimal methods for collecting plants.

MDG 7 Ensuring environmental sustainability.

Description of work
Propagation. The conditions for germination vary considerably and plant seeds often need to be stimulated. Trials on the timing of seed collection, seed drying, storage, and germination have been established for some species during a previous project and this knowledge will be disseminated to network members, policy makers and farmers. Further work by network members will be carried out on existing knowledge gaps to optimise the techniques for different plant species, locations and environments.
Cultivation. Data generated through propagation trials will lead to on-farm trials where farmers cultivate pesticidal plants. These trials can assess germination and production inputs required. Samples collected would need to be chemically analysed to compare with wild plants.
Sustainable Harvesting. The plant compounds in pesticidal plants can vary according to location and season and since their efficacy as pest control agents depends on plant compounds harvesting times can be crucial in optimising their efficacy. A list of plant species will be made through discussion with network partners and associates and farming communities and based on existing knowledge. In some cases, roots, bark, seeds or entire plants of pesticidal species are used, and the collection of these parts is not sustainable. New targeted research by network partners will help inform this activity. For example, it may be that where roots are harvested (and so the plant is killed) active compounds also occur in leaves, and harvesting these would be more sustainable. Trials to improve the way certain species are harvested can be carried out in collaboration with farming communities. These trials can assess the impact of modified harvesting methods on abundance of the species within a restricted area and compare this to similar areas where modified harvesting has not been practiced.
Processing. Once harvested plant materials are usually dried, ground or extracted to give a product which is used immediately, stored or sold. Exposure to sunlight and oxidation can change chemistry and so it’s bioactivity, so knowledge gaps will focus on the way in which farmers may process pesticidal plant species.

• Guidelines on collecting and cultivating pesticidal plants that are not presently cultivated and are threatened.
• Protocols produced for sustainable harvesting and effective preparation of pesticidal plant material.
• Farmer and NGO workshops to inform the wider farming community about sustainable use of pesticidal plants and their cultivation.
• Policy document on sustainable use of pesticidal plants and conservation of African dryland habitats.
• Plants database to provide a resource for journal article references and practical information on the use of pesticidal plants.

Network actions will necessarily lead to prioritisation of knowledge gaps, and actions will need to focus the most promising plants and most important needs related to increasing availability of pesticidal plants.

WP 6: Commercialisation and marketing

Lead partner SAFIRE

• Maximise availability of plant pesticides to small-scale farmers
• Develop pesticidal plants as a cash crop for small-scale farmers living in the African dryland eco-regions
• Develop processes to exploit economic markets to promote the use of pesticidal plants
• Develop IPR, indigenous ownership and product registration protocols to promote innovation and local industrial investments

This is an essential step towards the formalisation of pesticidal plant use for agricultural pest management, particularly if government and non-governmental organisations continue to promote the use of wild plants. Demand for pesticidal plants will continue to grow, which can only realistically be met through their cultivation and marketing. Furthermore, many outstanding plants species such as Neem (Azadirachta indica) have restricted natural distribution which limits the opportunities for farmers to exploit them so alternative species must be found or marketing and distribution opportunities for existing materials need to be set up. However, pesticidal plant products are a relatively unknown sector. Although the synthetic industry can be used as a proxy, a sub-sector analysis is required to characterise key players from production to consumption as well as assess and review the policies and regulations.

Addresses MDG 1. Eradicate extreme poverty.

Description of work
Pesticidal plant product sector characterisation
Market information systems: The activity looks at creating market information platforms and developing market linkages in the target areas. A Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach will be used. Marketing of pesticidal plant products is not so well developed in many countries despite the growing recognition that there is demand for natural pesticides. A diagnostic survey of the existing situation will be conducted to assess knowledge and understanding of products, constraints, needs, and potential markets. Depending on the level of knowledge, the households, producer groups and entrepreneurs will be educated on the market potential of the products that they are producing or can produce.
Rural households generally have weak market knowledge and poor access to market information (product demand, specifications and prices). They end up generating products of unreliable quality and quantity, rarely engaging in grading and processing to improve product quality (and profit margins) and usually sell their products as individuals (not through groups to achieve economies of scale). The activity will conduct market surveys using a rapid survey format to identify and understand:
i) pesticidal products that hold potential for farmers (their specifications, quantities, seasonality etc);
ii) the market channels that are used and hold commercial potential for smallholder products;
iii) the market problems faced by farmers and market agents;
iv) the opportunities to improve the quantity and quality of products and
v) market integration (through vertical price correlation and price transmission elasticity) and efficiency. This activity has already been initiated in current projects in some of the selected countries. This information will be made available to the target groups through easy-to-read information leaflets and meetings.
Market linkages : The second activity will identify and evaluate the current markets (buyers) and assess their potential to increase volumes. This information is crucial in matching product type and demand level. Market intelligence will be gathered through pro-active contacts and web-based searches. The information will be documented and shared with all stakeholders. The surveys will also characterize the product-to market chain and create a better understanding of the market linkages. This activity will be a two-way process which will also inform the buyers about the products that farmers are producing. There is potential to link this with the organic markets. Fact sheets on pesticide products will be produced and distributed as widely as possible. The information can also be advertised in the media.

• Policy and socio-economic report on market potential of pesticidal plant materials from African dryland habitats.
• Workshops for NGOs and farmers to promote the supply of pesticidal plants by small scale enterprises in each country.
• Information and fact sheets on marketable products
• Farmer marketing network

Pesticidal plant product development and commercialization will need to conform with partner countries’ agricultural and trade regulations.


Back to top




Copyright © 2011
The Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich


wordpress analytics