Handicraft using corn ear husk and pest damage affecting its production


Family farmers use corn [Zea mays L (Poales: Poaceae)] ear husk to produce handicrafts. Income from selling handicrafts supplements their earnings and is used to buy food, home appliances, education (taxes) payment for children and grandchildren, etc. In addition, the extra work and income reduce artisan stress and improve physical and psychological health. EMBRAPA Corn and Sorghum, in Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, reports that corn genetic materials must have good productivity characteristics (main feature) and ears with husk of the proper color, length, texture, and width to be used for handicraft works which characteristics varies according to region and manufactured item. Moreover, plants must have good resistance characteristics to lodging and breakage, and seeds with good germination index. Birds, mammals, insects, and micro-organisms are corn pests, damaging plants and ear husks, and feeding on the kernels. Insects and micro-organisms usually cause lower damage to husks than birds and mammals. Identification of these organisms have been reported, such as an inverted «Y» on the head of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) differentiating it from the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Main pest control methods were reported, e.g. for birds: construction of refuge places; propane applied with cannons; scarecrows with colorful fabrics; pyrotechnics (fireworks releasing); hunting (firearms used according to the law); seeds colored with inert substances (generally red, making them to resemble to toxic seeds of native plants); resistant cultivars (hard husk); covering ears with cloth bags (physical barrier); biological control with birds; commercially available repellent materials, and others. Handicraft using corn ear husk is important activity and expanding worldwide, but pests can destroy or severely damage production of this material.


artistic product, corn, craft husk, damage

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Maydica - A journal devoted to maize and allied species

ISSN: 2279-8013