Mango farmers can slash by half expenditure on fruit-fly insecticides and double market demand for their produce by applying integrated pest management techniques.
A research by the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Embu County has shown that the methods reduce expenses on insecticides by 46.3 per cent while cutting back mango rejection by 54.5 per cent.
The integrated pest management methods involve male annihilation technique, which is basically luring male fruit-flies to high density bait (food trap) stations, the research says.
This would effectively separate the males from mating with females, therefore, progressively reducing the population of the insects. Common seducing insecticide include fipronil and malathion.
Another way is using an attractant poisoned protein spray that would seduce maturing female fruit flies, and killing them after ingestion.
Biological control methods can also be applied for those who can afford to introduce other organisms that feed on the fruit-flies for instance wasps.
Combining the above with orchard sanitation would promote high yields that have minimum pesticide residues.
“It is evident from our analysis that integrated pest management for fruit-fly in mango generates substantial economic benefits for farmers in Embu County by increasing net income by 22.4 per cent,” the study says.
ICIPE urged governmental and non-governmental partners in the agriculture sector to train farmers countrywide on application of these methods to alleviate the economic status of the people.
The research, dubbed Economic evaluation of integrated management of fruit fly in mango production in Embu County,comes at a time that Kenyan horticultural produce is under strict surveillance on levels of pesticides before accessing European markets.
Kenya Plants Health Inspectorate Service, whose laboratory was approved to test chemical residue levels in agroproducts in January, was one of the State agencies that participated in the study.