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icipe is a tropical organisation with a tropical agenda. But why study insects? Because in the tropics, insects are a fact of life to be reckoned with. Insects pose a great risk to food production, often causing the loss of entire crops and destroying about half of all harvested food in storage. The 'old' tropical vector-borne diseases of malaria, dengue, kala-azar and the like are making a dramatic comeback, and frightening new ones are emerging. Livestock succumb in their millions to insect- and tick-borne diseases, resulting in loss of milk, meat and traction power. Underlying all of these issues is the fundamental poverty of most tropical countries and inability to harness their natural resources for themselves.

Established in Kenya in 1970, icipe's founders recognised that the mainly developing countries in the tropics had special problems that were not being adequately addressed by scientists and organisations in the North. Furthermore, there was a serious lack of indigenous expertise to resolve these problems. It should come as no surprise therefore that icipe's objectives for this millennium are essentially the same as they were three decades ago:

  • to help ensure food security and better health for humankind and its livestock;
  • to protect the environment; and
  • to conserve and make better use of natural resources.

icipe's mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food security and improve the overall health status of peoples of the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building