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    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. 

    Benefit

    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.

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    Rose flower farmers will soon save up to 35 per cent of their produce after a renowned agribusiness firm launches a new pesticide that destroys fungi which attack the produce while in the field and on transit.
    The Banjo fungicide, which will be launched later this month by Amiran Kenya, promise to wipe out Botytis, which destroys 20 per cent of the flowers on the  farms and 15 per cent while on transit.
    Contribution to economy
    This is a huge sigh of relief to the cut flower sector,  which is losing about 35 per cent in revenues to the fungi. The loss is further aggravated during rainy and low precipitation seasons when the fungi are more active according to a 2013 Research Gate study, which explored effects of botrytis in Kenya. The cut flower sector earned Kenya Sh54.6billion in 2014, representing 2.8 per cent of the country’s GDP, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
    Dangerous fungus
    Currently, farmers are forced to employ physical preventive measures including shedding of extra leaves on the crop while on the farm and reducing levels of humidity when transporting the harvest to the market.
    However, experts warn that sanitation alone is not sufficient in controlling it.
    The fungus produces 60,000 or more spores on a piece of plant tissue similar to the size of human small finger nail, with a single spore being able to cause grey mold disease.
    According to Pole Mwadzombo, an Agronomist at Amiran Kenya, it  thrives in cool places like green houses. He explained that botrytis must have nutrients source before it invades a plant. He, for instance said nutrients leaking from wounded plant parts or dying tissue like an old flower petal is sufficient.
    How to use the fungicide
    A litre of Banjo fungicide in 1000 litres of water is enough for 2.5 acres. Mwadzombo explained that the litre of the fungicide against such quantity of water minimise chemical effect on the flowers.
    It can be applied at the interval of three weeks and seven days before harvesting.
    Rose flowers take about 105 days to mature. The fungicide can also be used on other horticultural products like vegetables and fruits, which are affected by botytis.
    Amiran Kenya is still silent on the price, but Irine Limo and Pole Mwadzombo can be contacted on 0735122154 and 0737590146 respectively after the launch.

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