Fruit Fly Control

Better mango yields thanks to integrated pest management in Kenya and Ethiopia

In Kenya, fruit flies often cause serious damage to mango crops. However, the flies can be controlled with an innovative combination of environmentally friendly measures (Integrated Pest Management IPM), which includes the removal of affected mangos, monitoring the fly population and using odour traps for targeted control. An important element of biological pest management is the use of bio-pesticides or natural predators such as parasitic wasps. These wasps lay their eggs on those of the mango pests. The wasp larvae eat the eggs or larvae of the fruit fly and so decimate the population. As part of this project, the wasps are being bred and released in the plantations. The farmers then learn how to establish the wasps in their own mango groves and live in harmony with them. IPM can keep the fruit-fly population in check and significantly increase the quality and quantity of the mango harvest.

The local mango crop is of increasing importance in Kenya as a source of both food and income.

Objectives

Improve the food security and incomes of farmers in the project regions by strengthening and expanding the use of integrated, environmentally-friendly methods of controlling the fruit fly.

Relevance

In recent years, mango production has become increasingly important in Kenya and represents an important food source. In addition, demand for the fruit is high and mangos can provide small farmers with a valuable source of income However, there are strict quarantine regulations and export bans are imposed on fruit affected by fruit flies, so excluding farmers from a profitable market.

With conventional measures seemingly unable to stem the invasion of fruit flies, mango producers were in an impossible situation.

Beneficiaries

A total of 2,870 mango producers will benefit directly from an increase in yields and a higher quality crop, which in turn will improve incomes and increase the opportunities for export. This number includes 800 female mango farmers, i.e. 30% of the total. The beneficiaries also include 25 agricultural advisers, 37 employees of NARS, the National Agricultural Research System and a further 8 Quarantine Officers, who have all been trained in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and so have improved their knowledge. A further 12,200 people will benefit from improved food security, including 5,700 people who work in the retail, processing and export sectors and will benefit indirectly from the creation of additional jobs. 

Objectives 2016 - 2017

  • Undertake a systematic recording of the damage caused by fruit flies to mangoes in the project regions in Kenya and Ethiopia
  • Demonstrate IPM activities; this includes ongoing monitoring and the refinement of activities in the project regions
  • Breed and release wasps (F. arisanus and D. longicaudata); they are natural predators of the fruit fly and will decimate fruit-fly populations in the project regions
  • Investigate and implement options for additional IPM activities; by implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), strengthen the mango supply chain

Achievements

The project has bred 7,500 F. arisanus and 9,000 D. longicaudata parasitic wasps: This has allowed the release of sufficient beneficial insects in the project regions. 
In addition, fruit-fly traps containing attractant have been placed in the fields. The traps are checked regularly and the number of flies caught is monitored.
In the project regions of West Embu and Machakos, 4 new locations have been established for training and demonstration purposes. They are all with easy reach of local farmers and can be used as venues for the Farmer Field Days (practical training in IPM techniques). In 2015, a total of 1,608 farmers were trained in IPM methods and provided with information material. In addition, 38 trainers from NARS (National Agricultural Research System) have been trained in IPM. They can now act as ToT (Trainer of Trainers) and spread the knowledge further. To support the expansion of IPM, a total of 1,608 starter packs including fly traps, 2 doses of attractant and information material were distributed to mango farmers at the beginning of the mango season in October. In 2015, GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) training was given to 20 people from four different farmer groups. In addition, these farmers were provided with information on the basics of marketing their fruit, focussing in particular on pricing, sales planning and general marketing.

Handover Strategy

The breeding and release of the beneficial insects requires intensive technical support and advice but once released, the insects multiply independently and require no additional care. Farmers must only make sure that the insects’ habitat is not damaged by pesticides or other external influences.
In addition, future phases of the project will expand and intensify the training for partners. They have similar goals and as qualified stakeholders, they will be able to create networks that guarantee the continued exchange of knowledge and experience.

Additional information

Information on the project can also be found on the new website on the African fruit fly (www.icipe.org/africanfruitfly). The activities of the project have already been profiled on the TV programme "Shamba Shape Up" (www.shambashapeup.com). The average audience for this programme in East Africa is more than 10 million.