icipe – EU IBCARP intensifies mango production in Africa

Close to 32,000 fruit growers across Africa are now using icipe's integrated pest management packages for the control of fruit flies.

Of these farmers, 8,000 have gained access to the strategies over the past two years, through the Integrated Biological Control Applied Research Program (IBCARP), an initiative  funded by the European Union (EU), to support the adoption of the Centre’s technologies and strategies for improved cereal, horticulture and livestock productivity by an estimated 350,000 additional farmers and pastoralists in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

 icipe fruit fly IPM packages include: use of fungi-derived biopesticides; baiting and male annihilation techniques; biological control with parasitoids; cultural control through field sanitation; minimal use of pesticide in localised bait stations of spot spray, and proper post-harvest treatment to provide and assure quarantine security.

The packages are aimed towards reducing yield losses and the huge expenditure incurred by farmers to purchase pesticides. They are also intended to mitigate the health and environmental risks associated with the use (and misuse) of such chemicals. Overall, the IPM strategies should increase the market competitiveness of fruits from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and, as a result, elevate the income and livelihoods of people involved in the value chain.

On 1 and 2 February, an IBCARP Stakeholders Awareness Workshop, as illustrated below.

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Mr Peter Kilonzo Ngovi, a mango farmer from Machakos and one of the beneficiaries of the icipe-EU IBCARP project, inspects his health crop, grown using icipe fruit fly IPM technologies. Previously, like many other farmers across Africa, Mr Ngovi used to lose up to 80% of his produce to fruit flies, even after investing KES12,000 (USD 120) per week in pesticides.  He is now one of 12 farmers from Machakos County who have been selected as IBCARP model farmers, with their farms serving as fruit fly IPM learning sites for other growers. 

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icipe scientist, Dr Fathiya Khamis, explains to farmers how to use a fruit fly trap developed by the Centre, during a training session in Machakos County on 1 February 2017.

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Farmers observe up close fruit flies reared by icipe as part of the Centre's research towards developing IPM strategies for the pests.

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Peterson Nderitu, a technician in the icipe Fruit Fly IPM programme, explains to farmers the workings of the male annihilation technique. Male fruit flies are mass trapped using lures combined with an insecticide, with the aim of reducing the male populations to a level where mating does not occur. As a result, fruit fly populations are reduced significantly.  

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Mr Ngovi poses against a sign announcing the selection of his farm as an IBCARP fruit fly IPM learning site.

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Participants of an IBCARP Stakeholders Workshop held in Machakos County on 2 February. They included representatives of: icipe; EU; farmers; the Anglican Development Services-Eastern (ADSE), a key partner in the upscaling of the technologies; Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, Switzerland, a partner of icipe in the dissemination of the Fruit Fly IPM packages; Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries; local/County officials; private sector partners and mango value chain stakeholders.

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Mr Steve Wathome, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Rural Development, EU Delegation to Kenya, emphasised the EU's commitment to supporting value chain focussed strategies, with the goal of enabling farmers improve their yield, incomes, food security and nutrition, and overall livelihoods.  

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Sunday Ekesi, icipe Interim Director of Research and Partnerships, spoke about the Centre's overall mission to improve food and health across Africa. Specifically, the vision of the icipe Plant Health Theme is to contribute towards improving agricultural production in Africa, with the overall goal of contributing to food security, human and environmental health, and to household and national economies.are ideal for their needs. Towards this goal, icipe conducts research, develops and pilots easy to use, environmentally strategies and technologies, and works with a range of partners, including national agricultural research organisations, training of trainers, farmer training programmes, and private sector partnerships, to ensure that the approaches are accessible, available and affordable to end users. The Centre also conducts economic impact assessments to assess the success and challenges, so as to institute necessary improvements of the strategies and technologies.

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Ivan Rwomushana presented an overview of the IBCARP project, which is being implemented through four components. In addition to the Fruit Fly IPM, the other components are: the Centre’s climate-resilient push-pull technology for the control of weeds and pests; the tsetse fly repellent collar technology and research towards the control of vectors of camel diseases. He expounded on the strategies and activities being conducted within the IBCARP Fruit Fly component. They include: expanding dissemination in Kenya and Tanzania, while introducing the packages in Ethiopia, enhancing the commercialisation of icipe biopesticides, more research and releases of natural enemies, intensfied training of mango growers, studies on endosymbionts of African fruit flies, and development of postharvest strategies. 

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Mrs Esther Musili of ADSE, the development arm of the Anglican Church of Kenya, addressing the workshop. She expressed gratitude to icipe and EU, for the remarkable impact achieved through IBCARP within a relatively short period, noting that ASDE would continue its role of supporting dissemination and adoption of the fruit fly IPM packages.