How can agriculture-based interventions help reduce malaria?
Some practical examples:
Opportunity: Intermittent irrigation can increase rice yields and control mosquito breeding.
Opportunity: Cattle can be used to divert hungry mosquitoes from people (zooprophylaxis). They are also ‘dead-end’ hosts to malaria parasites.
Opportunity: Control of crop pests using other insects (integrated pest management - IPM) can considerably reduce the need for synthetic insecticides.
Opportunity: Micro-nutrients (eg. Vitamin A in varieties of sweet potato, vegetables, etc.) can enhance immunity against infections, including those due to malaria parasites.
Opportunity: Bucket-kit drip irrigation systems and treadle pumps can enhance food security and income (for purchase of nets, drugs etc.) among poor households in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Opportunity: Rice fields with freshly applied synthetic fertilizers can enhance the biological control of mosquitoes using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) as follows: (1) by serving as important concentration sites for mosquito larvae compared to fields without fertilizers, (2) by improving the timing of the application of the entomo-pathogenic bacteria, since peaks of larvae appear to closely follow fertilizer application in the field. The non-persistent nature of Bti has in the past curtailed its use in Africa due to the high costs repeated applications of the bio-agent would entail. Improved timing could increase the efficiency of applying Bti, thereby reducing costs.
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