Many of the important agricultural and horticultural crops cultivated worldwide belong to the genus Brassica.
The main brassicas grown in East Africa are cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata); kale, also called choumolea (B. oleracea L. var. acephala); Chinese cabbage (B. campestris L. var. sinensis); cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis); broccoli (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis); and Brussel sprouts (B. oleracea L. var. gemmifera).
These vegetables are grown mainly for local markets and domestic use. They are valuable sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as a source of cash for small-scale farmers in rural and peri-urban areas. However, production is often constrained by damage caused by a range of insects, diseases, nematodes and weeds. The range of pests attacking brassicas is similar, but the relative importance of individual pest species varies between the different crops and among countries. The major insect pests of brassica include diamondback moth (DBM), cabbage aphids, cabbage webworm, cabbage cluster caterpillar and Bagrada bugs. Black rot, turnip mosaic virus and bacterial soft rot constitute the main diseases.