The ways pests, diseases and weeds affect the lives of the world’s poorest farmers is a primary concern of the HarvestChoice project. These “biotic stressors” decrease agricultural yields, raise production costs, and limit the storability and marketability of food. They also make farming more risky as a livelihood or a commercial enterprise. As living organisms, biotic stressors exhibit complex behavior. This makes it more difficult to understand where they might be found and what their crop productivity impacts might be.
HarvestChoice and our partners are conducting spatially-explicit assessments of the prospective productivity and economic gains from ameliorating the effects of these biotic stressors on crop production. Our work puts a special emphasis on the constraints confronting the agricultural systems on which the world’s poor depend.