Agricultural Extension Officers’ Knowledge About the Role of Cowpea Flower Insect Visitor and the Effects of Pesticides Control Measures on the Insects in Central Region of Ghana
The study was undertaken to assess the knowledge of Agricultural Extension Officers about cowpea flower insect visitors and the effects of pesticide control measures on the insects in three districts in the Central Region of Ghana. Data were collected from 50 Agricultural Extension Officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) from three political districts by using questionnaire. The questionnaire which was developed using information from reviewed literature contained both open-ended and close-ended items on information pertaining to the personal data, knowledge on cowpea flower insect visitors and cowpea insect pest control measures. In each Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) district office, one officer was put in charge of administering and collection of the questionnaires. A random sampling technique was used. The Extension Officers considered bees (mean of 1.86) and lepidopterans (mean of 1.73) as the insects that most visited cowpea flowers. Also 90.91% (40) and 68.18% (30) of the Extension Officers considered bees and lepidopterans respectively as pollinators. Furthermore, 88.64% (39) of the respondents indicated that pollinators transfer pollen grains from the anther to the stigma. Majority of the respondents (mean of1.95) considered increased fruit set/increased crop yield as the benefit of pollination. Almost all the Extension Officers had low personal knowledge of pollinators. Therefore, government should include introductory courses on pollination and pollinators involving pollinator identification and conservation at all levels of education.
Key words: Agricultural Extension Officers, Knowledge, Pollination, Predator, Cowpea