From the Head Bug | Alumni Newsletter 2010

Purdue Entomology Beyond the Borders: USAID CRSP Programs

Head Bug Steve YaninekHead Bug: Steve Yaninek

With the past as prelude, we should not be surprised at our current commitment to international cooperation and development. Entomology has been engaged overseas more or less continuously since Don Paschke took sabbatical leave in the late 1960s at Oxford University in England. In the 1970s, US foreign assistance programs focused on economic development, particularly assistance that provided for basic human needs including agriculture. The US Agency for International Development (AID) Collaborative Research Support Project (CRSP) was a new program to emerge during this period. This program was designed to link the scientific capabilities of US Land Grant and Sea Grant universities with developing country scientists to help farmers increase their incomes and alleviate hunger without depleting the natural resource base they depend on for food, fuel, fiber, and shelter. Today, there are 9 CRSP projects, and most include pest Steve management components. The first CRSP got started in the late 1970s about the same time that Don Paschke led an initiative to create a unique Integrated Crop Protection CRSP. Recommendations from Don's committee were not included in any of the originally funded CRSP projects that included small ruminants, sorghum and millet, beans and cowpeas, soil management, peanuts, nutrition, and aquaculture. Larry Murdock joined the Bean/Cowpea CRSP in 1986 (4 years after the project started) to work on post harvest storage pests of cowpeas, particularly cowpea weevils, for low resource farmers in Cameroons. L. W. Kitch led the early fieldwork in the Cameroons, while pest biology and intervention technologies were developed and refined over two decades with contributions from Dick Shade (MS '68). Barry Pittendrigh (MS '94) joined the CRSP in 2006 to work on resistance management, and continued his participation when the project evolved into the Pulse CRSP in 2007. Rich Edwards was an inaugural member of the IPM CRSP initiated in 1993 to work in Central America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. Rich started a project in Mali, but soon shifted his attention to snow pea IPM as a non-traditional agricultural export crop in Guatemala. Rick Foster joined this CRSP in 2000 and worked on insect-vectored tomato viruses in Mali. Today Rick works on vegetable IPM in Honduras - the only CRSP project currently with active Department participation. CRSP projects kept us engaged international for the past 24 years, and provided a platform for new initiatives and funding. Examples include Rich Edwards' work on the exotic western corn rootworm in Europe, Bob O'Neil's training collaborations with Zamorano in Honduras, Greg Hunt's honeybee research collaborations in Mexico, Larry Murdock's Purdue Improve Cowpea Storage project in Africa, Cliff Sadof's clean nursery stock project in Costa Rica, and more recently, Rick Foster's efforts to rebuild the plant protection capacity in Afghan universities. There is no doubt our international portfolio will continue to grow and become more integrated with our core Land Grant mission as we move forward.