Considerable advances in sweet potato technology are apparent in several crop aspects which are relevant to the Region. Research results in genetic resource preservation, breeding for higher yields and non-sweet types, pathogen-tested cultivar availability and in vitro preservation through the collaborative efforts of the International Potato Center and National and Regional Programs and entities will be presented and discussed. For potatoes, research developments in breeding for adaptation to hot climates, seed production, true potato seed technology and virology will be discussed. Insect pests damaging potatoes and sweet potatoes in Tropical America will be identified and discussed. Insect pests like the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller), and the sweet potato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Fabricius) have been known to cause yield losses of more than 40%. In ah endeavour to address the challenging task of developing appropriate and sustainable pest management strategies, the International Potato Center (CIP) has followed, from its inception, an advanced multidisciplinary research and training approach on a collaborative basis. This approach has been intensified in the last ten years. During this period, CIP's research efforts have yielded useful technology, the application of which promises to have definite impact on management of potato and sweet potato pests of economic importance in Tropical America. CIP's integrated pest management (IPM) program, over the last several years, has based its research effort on the use of host plant resistance (HPR) to insect pests, sex-pheromones, cultural practices and biological control of key insect pests. Status of research and development work on these control components and their use in national programs in Tropical America will be discussed.


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