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Kenyan mango farmers are combating fruit flies

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-09-11  Views: 10
Core Tip: Mango farmers in Kenya’s Kerio Valley are exploring ways to control pests using biological methods.
Mango farmers in Kenya’s Kerio Valley are exploring ways to control pests using biological methods. In this way, they will increase their chances of being able to export their produce to the lucrative EU markets.
A team of Kenyan university graduates - who recently completed a one-year training in Israel - are empowering locals with knowledge on the biological methods Israeli mango farmers use to beat the destructive fruit flies.
“In Israel, farmers use sterile male flies to mate with females, so the females lay infertile eggs. This does not harm the fruits and ultimately reduces the pest. Because of this method of pest control, fruits from Israel are easily accepted in EU markets since they use minimal chemicals,” says Kennedy Wafula, one of the researchers spearheading the project.
Mr Francis Kiplagat, a large scale mango farmer with more than 60 acres for mangoes, recalled a season where he lost 80 percent of his produce before he realised there was an insect-fruit fly causing the havoc. But when he set up the traps, he noticed a remarkable difference within a week. “Within that short time, the trap had captured hundreds of pests,” he says. 
The trap is basically a jar-like container with a lid and punched holes on the sides to allow entry of insects and is laced with pheromones. The pheromone attracts males within a one-kilometre radius. They rush to the trap thinking they are heading to females for mating, but immediately die after getting into the jar.

Source: standardmedia.co.ke
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