Optimising Pesticidal Plants:

Technology Innovation, Outreach and Networks


Popular press articles

A training workshop with more than 60 farmers from Western Kenya took place at the National Museums of Kenya over the 25th and 26th May. Training was provided on how to use pesticidal plants, giving farmers practical hands-on experience in making their own extracts. The event was broadcast on Kenyan national news by TV channel KBC as well as in several newspapers.


A new leaflet published by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa provides practical advice on Using Pesticidal Plants for Pest Management in Africa. And in French.

New leaflet highlighting OPTIONs activities and partners in Kenya: OPTIONs partnership encourages farmers to grow and use natural pesticidal plants, rather than synthetic chemicals for pest control

Article appearing on the ENSIA web magazine, Could traditional plants hold the secret to saving crops from pests? Researchers build on age-old practices to reduce food loss in Africa.

OPTIONs pesticidal tree planting initiative is profiled in a newsletter from Sustainable Global Gardens

An article about the OPTIONs project is published in The Ismaili Magazine: Pesticidal plants to protect crops and grains

CIFOR's Forest News highlights OPTIONs work on understanding policy issues: In fight against African pests, researchers point to natural-born killers

Grow your own pesticidal plants - a blog by ICRAF

The ACP S&T leaflet about OPTIONs

OPTIONs overview leaflet

Training materials

A practical handbook for farmers and experts is produced, giving information on best practices on the use of pesticidal plants. The Handbook on Pesticidal Plants can be dowloaded from here and can also be found on the ICRAF online library.
Anjarwalla P, Belmain S, Sola P, Jamnadass R, Stevenson PC. 2016. Handbook on Pesticidal Plants. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya
The Handbook on Pesticidal Plants is also available in French, which can be downloaded from here

The National Museums of Kenya team at the East Africa Herbarium leaflet on the propagation of Securidaca longepedunculata, one of the target indigenous, slow-growing, recalcitrant species of the OPTIONs project.

Proceedings of a training workshop on Optimisation of Pesticidal plants: Technology Innovation, Outreach & Networks (OPTIONs). The workshop was held at the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, 28-30 October 2014. Presentations from this workshop on growing and using pesticidal plants are found below.

OPTIONs meeting introduction

Pesticidal plants, an alternative to synthetic chemicals

Plant species identification

Sustainable harvesting of pesticidal plants

Status and availability of germplasm of pesticidal plants

Making quality seed collections

Principles of propagation and cultivation of pesticidal plants

Using pesticidal plants for crop protection

Potential for small scale marketing of pesticidal plants

Current status of pyrethrum sector in Kenya

Overview of the organic agriculture sector in Kenya

The commercial village model


Fact sheets have been created in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.  More information about these pesticidal species can be found on the Plant Database pages as well through ICRAF's species switchboard

Fact sheet about Aloe ferox

Fact sheet about Chenopodium (syn. Dysphania) ambrosioides

Fact sheet about Euphorbia tirucalli

Fact sheet about Lippia javanica

Fact sheet about Securidaca longepedunculata

Fact sheet about Solanum incanum

Fact sheet about Strychnos spinosa and in Kiswahili

Fact sheet about Tagetes minuta and in Kiswahili

Fact sheet about Tephrosia vogelii and in Kiswahili

Fact sheet about Tithonia diversifolia

Fact sheet about Vernonia amygdalina

Fact sheet about Zanthoxylum holtzianum


Seed collecting techniques by Michael Way and Kate Gold, Seed Conservation Department, Millenium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Guidelines for the Sustainable Harvesting of Traditional Medicinal Plants - but just as relevant for harvesting pesticidal plants

Anjarwalla P., Ofori D.A., Jamnadass R., Mowo J.G. & Stevenson P.C.(2013). Proceedings of a training workshop on sustainable production, harvesting and conservation of botanical pesticides. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. 61pp.


Scientific publications produced with OPTIONs support

Stevenson, P. C. and Belmain, S. R. (2016). Pesticidal plants in African agriculture: Local uses and global perspectives. Outlooks on Pest Management. 27(5): 226-230. (full text pdf)

Arnold, S. E. J., Stevenson, P. C., and Belmain, S. R. (2016). Shades of yellow: interactive effects of visual and odour cues in a pest beetle. PeerJ. 4:e2219 (full text pdf)

Stevenson, P.C., Green, P.W.C., Veitch, N.C., Farrell, I., Kusolwa, P. Belmain, S.R., (2016) Nor-Hopanes explain pest control activity of Zanha africana root bark. Phytochemistry, 123, 25-32. (full text pdf)

Nyahangare, E.T., Mvumi, B.M. and Maramba, T. (2016) Acute Oral Mammalian Toxicity and Effect of Solvents on Efficacy of Maerua edulis (Gilg. & Ben.) De Wolf against Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus Koch, 1844 (Acarina: Ixodidae), Tick Larvae. BioMed Research International. 8. (full text pdf)

Mkenda, P., Mwanauta, R., Stevenson, P. C., Ndakidemi, P., Mtei, K., and Belmain, S. R. (2015). Extracts from field margin weeds provide economically viable and environmentally benign pest control compared to synthetic pesticides. Plos ONE. 10(11), e0143530. (full text pdf)

Arnold, S. E. J., Stevenson, P. C., and Belmain, S. R. (2015). Responses to colour and host odour cues in three cereal pest species, in the context of ecology and control. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 1–9. (full text pdf)

Mkenda, P.A. Stevenson, P.C. Ndakidemi, P., Farman, D.I. and Belmain, S.R. (2015) Contact and fumigant toxicity of five pesticidal plants against Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in stored cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. 35(4): 172-184. (full text pdf)

Sola, P. Mvumi, B. M., Belmain, S.R., Ogendo, J. O., Mponda, O., Kamanula, J.F., Nyirenda, S. P. and Stevenson, P.C., (2014) Botanical pesticide production, trade and regulatory mechanisms in sub-Saharan Africa: making a case for plant-based pesticidal products. Food Security. 6(3): 369-384. (full text pdf)


Scientific journal articles - selected from OPTIONs project partners

Stevenson, P.C., Arnold, S.E.J. and Belmain, S.R. (2014) Pesticidal Plants for Stored Product Pests on Small-holder Farms in Africa In: Advances in Plant Biopesticides (ed. Dwijendra Singh), Springer India, pp. 149-172. (full text pdf)

Grzywacz, D., Stevenson, P.C., Mushobozi, W.L., Belmain, S. and Wilson, K. (2014) The use of indigenous ecological resources for pest control in Africa. Food Security, 6 (1). pp. 71-86. (full text pdf)

Amoabeng, B. W., Gurr, G. M. Gitau, C. W., Stevenson, P. C. (2014). Cost: benefit analysis of botanical insecticide use in cabbage: implications for smallholder farmers in developing countries. Crop Protection. 57, 71-76. (full text pdf)

Isman, M.B. and Grieneise, M.L. (2014) Botanical insecticide research: many publications, limited useful data. Trends in Plant Science. 19(3): 140 – 145. (full text pdf)

Amoabeng, B.W., Gurr, G.M., Gitau, C.W., Nicol, H.I., Munyakazi,  L. and Stevenson, P.C. (2013) Tri-Trophic Insecticidal Effects of African  Plants against Cabbage Pests. PloS One, 8 (10) p. e78651 (full text pdf)

Ogendo, J.O., Lukhoba, C.W., Bett, P.K. and Machocho,  A.K. (Eds.) (2013) Proceedings of The First International Conference on Pesticidal Plants. Egerton University, Kenya. 275 pp. (full text pdf)

Belmain, S.R., Haggar, J., Holt, J. and  Stevenson, P.C. (2013). Managing legume pests in sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges  and prospects for improving food security and nutrition through agro-ecological  intensification. Chatham Maritime (United Kingdom): Natural Resources  Institute, University of Greenwich. 34p. (full text pdf)

Madzimure, J., Nyahangare, E.T., Hamudikuwanda, H.,  Hove, T., Belmain, S.R. Stevenson, P.C. and Mvumi, B.M. (2013) Efficacy of Strychnos spinosa (Lam.) and Solanum incanum L.  aqueous fruit extracts against cattle ticks. Tropical Animal Health and  Production .  (full text pdf)

Arnold, S.E.J, Stevenson, P.C. and Belmain, S.R. (2012) Odour-mediated  orientation of beetles is influenced by age, sex and morph. PLoS ONE. 7(11): e49071 (full text pdf)

Belmain, S.R., Amoah, B.A., Nyirenda, S.P., Kamanula, J.F. and Stevenson, P.C.  (2012) Highly variable insect control efficacy of Tephrosia vogelii chemotypes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 60(40): 10055–10063. (full text pdf)

Stevenson,  P. C. Nyirenda, S.P., Mvumi, B.M., Sola, P.,  Kamanula, J.F., Sileshi, G., Belmain, S.R. (2012) Pesticidal plants: A viable  alternative insect pest management approach for resource-poor farming in  Africa. In: Opender Koul, G. S. Dhaliwal, S. Khokhar and Ram Singh (eds.), Biopesticides in Environment and Food Security: Issues and Strategies, Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur,  India, pp. 212-238. (full text pdf)

Nyahangare, E.T., Hove, T., Mvumi, B.M., Hamudikuwanda, H., Belmain, S.R., Madzimure, J. and Stevenson, P.C. (2012) Acute mammalian toxicity of four pesticidal plants.Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 6 (13):  2674-2680. (full text pdf)

Muzemu, S., Mvumi, B.M.,  Nyirenda, S.P.N. Sileshi, G.W.,  Sola, P., Kamanula, J.F., Belmain, S.R. and Stevenson, P.C. (2012) Pesticidal effects of indigenous plants extracts against rape aphids and tomato red spider mites. African Crop Science Conference Proceedings. 10: 169 - 171. (full text pdf)

Chikukura, L., Mvumi, B.M., Chikonzo, R. and  Chenzara, C. (2012)  Evaluation of selected indigenous pesticidal plant powders against stored maize and cowpeas insect pests African Crop Science Conference Proceedings. 10: 189 - 192. (full text pdf)

Philip C. Stevenson, Geoffrey C. Kite, Gwilym P. Lewis, Félix Forest, Stephen P. Nyirenda, Steven R. Belmain, Gudeta W. Sileshi, Nigel C. Veitch (2012). Distinct chemotypes of Tephrosia vogelii and implications for their use in pest control and soil enrichment. Phytochemistry. 78: 135-146. (full text pdf)

Thokozani, B.L.K, Zulu, D., Sileshi, G.W., Teklehaimanot, Z., Gondwe, D.S.B., Sarasan, V. and Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Seed germination and in vitro regeneration of the African medicinal and pesticidal plant, Bobgunnia Madagascariensis. African Journal of Biotechnology. 10(32): 5959-5966 (full text pdf)

Zulu, D., Thokozani, B.L.K., Sileshi, G.W., Teklehaimanot, Z., Gondwe, D.S.B., Sarasan, V. and Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Propagation of the African medicinal and pesticidal plant, Securidaca longepedunculata. African Journal of Biotechnology. 10(32): 5988-5992. (full text pdf)

Sarasan, V.,  Kite, G.,  Sileshi, G. &  Stevenson, P. (2011). Applications of phytochemical and in vitro techniques for reducing over-harvesting of medicinal and pesticidal plants and generating income for the rural poor. Plant Cell Reports. 30(7):1163-1172. (full text pdf)

Nyirenda, S.P.N. Sileshi, G., Belmain, S.R., Kamanula, J.F., Mvumi, B., Sola, P., Nyirenda, G.K.C. & Stevenson, P.C. (2011). Farmers’ ethno-ecological knowledge of vegetable pests and pesticidal plant use in northern Malawi and eastern Zambia. African Journal of Agricultural Research. (full text pdf)

Kamanula J., Sileshi, G.W., Belmain, S.R., Sola, P.,  Mvumi, B.M., Nyirenda, G.K.C., Nyirenda, S.P.N.  & Stevenson, P.C. (2011) Farmers’ Insect Pest management practices and pesticidal plant use for protection of stored maize and beans in Southern Africa. International Journal of Pest Management. 57(1): 41-49. (full text pdf)

Madzimure, J., Nyahangare, E.T., Hamudikuwanda, H., Hove, T., Stevenson, P.C., Belmain, S.R., and Mvumi, B.M. (2011) Acaricidal efficacy against cattle ticks and acute oral toxicity of Lippia javanica (Burm F.) Spreng. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 43:481–489. (full text pdf)  

Stevenson, P.C.,  Nyirenda, S.P., Veitch, N.C. (2010). Highly glycosylated flavonoids from the pods of Bobgunnia madagascariensis. Tetrahedron Letters. 51: 4727–4730. (full text pdf)

Stevenson, P.C., Dayarathna, T.K., Belmain, S.R. and Veitch, N.C. (2009). Bisdesmosidic saponins from Securidaca  longepedunculata roots: Evaluation of deterrency and toxicity to coleopteran storage pests. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 57: 8860–8867. (full text pdf)

Koul, O. and Walia, S. (2009). Comparing impacts of plant extracts and pure allelochemicals and implications for pest control. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 4 (49):1-30. (full text pdf)

Isman, M. (2008). Botanical insecticides: for richer, for poorer. Pest Management Science. 64: 8–11. (full text pdf)

Koul, O. (2008). Phytochemicals and Insect Control: An Antifeedant Approach. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences. 27:1, 1-24. (full text pdf)

Akhtar, Y., Yeoung, Y.R. & Isman, M.B. (2008). Comparative bioactivity of selected extracts from Meliaceae and some commercial botanical insecticides against two noctuid caterpillars, Trichoplusia ni and Pseudaletia unipunctaPhytochemical Review. 7:77–88. (full text pdf)

Koul, O., Walia, S. and Dhaliwal, G.S. (2008).  Essential Oils as Green Pesticides: Potential and Constraints. Biopesticides International. 4(1): 63–84. (full text pdf)

Kestenholz, C., Stevenson, P.C., Belmain, S.R. (2007). Comparative study of field and laboratory evaluations of the ethnobotanical Cassia sophera L. (Leguminosae) for bioactivity against the storage pests Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) and Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Journal of Stored Products Research. 43: 79-86. (full text pdf)

Isman, M.B. (2006). Botanical insecticides, deterrents and repellents in modern agriculture and an increasingly regulated world. Annual Review of Entomology. 51:45–66. (full text pdf).

Jayasekara, T.K., Stevenson, P.C., Hall, D.R. and Belmain, S.R. (2005). Effect of volatile constituents from Securidaca longipedunculata on insect pests of stored grain. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 31: 303-313. (full text pdf)

Isman, M.B. (2005). Tropical forests as sources of natural insecticides. In: Recent Advances in Phytochemistry, Volume 39 (Chemical Ecology and Phytochemistry of Forests and Forest Ecosystems, JT Arnason, M Abou-Zaid, JT Romeo [eds.]. Elsevier, pp. 145-161. (full text pdf).

Waliwitiya, R., Isman, M.B., Vernon, R.S. & Riseman, A. (2005). Insecticidal activity of selected monoterpenoids and rosemary oil to Agriotes obscurus (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 98(5): 1560-1565. (full text pdf).

Ogendo, J.O., Deng, A.L., Belmain, S.R., Walker, D.J. and Musandu. A.O. (2004) Effect of insecticidal plant materials, Lantana camara L. and Tephrosia vogelii Hook, on the quality parameters of stored maize grains. Journal of Food Technology in Africa. 9(1):29-35. (full text pdf)

Leatemia J.A. & Isman, M.B. (2004) Insecticidal activity of crude seed extracts of Annona spp., Lansium domesticum and Sandoricum koetjape against lepidopteran larvae. Phytoparasitica. 32(1):30-37. (full text pdf).

Ogendo, J.O., Belmain, S.R., Deng, A.L. and Walker, D.J. (2003) Comparison of the toxic and repellent effects         of Lantana camara L. and Tephrosia vogelii Hook against Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in stored maize grain. Insect Science and its Application. 23(2): 127-135. (full text pdf)

Jayasekara, T.K., Stevenson, P.C., Belmain, S.R., Farman, D.I. and Hall, D.R. (2002). Identification of methyl salicylate as the principal volatile component in the methanol extract of roots of Securidaca longepedunculata Fers. Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 37:577-580. (full text pdf)

Belmain, S.R., Neal, G E., Ray, D.E. and Golob, P. (2001) Insecticidal and vertebrate toxicity associated with ethnobotanicals used as post-harvest protectants in Ghana. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 39(3):287-291. (full text pdf)