07 Feb Tackling fruit fly infestation to improve productivity.
The fruits and vegetable sector is constrained by a multiplicity of pests and diseases, the most serious of which are fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). Damage attributed to fruit fly infestation range from 33 to 83% and can reach 100% if no interventions are put in place. A number of research initiatives by NARL scientists have been undertaken to develop integrated pest management (IPM) options for fruit flies in selected regions in Uganda.
Through research, training and sensitization engagements with fruit farmers, the scientists were able to come up with a number of integrated pest management options, one of which is the male annihilation technique (MAT). This technique uses plastic Jerrican’s embedded with M.A.T blocks, cut at specific points to allow entry for fruit flies and strategically hang on fruit trees in the garden to attract fruit flies. These MAT blocks contain two components; one of which has a distinct scent that attracts the male fruit fly and insecticide, and any contact with it, is fatal for the fruit fly.
This technique has been proven to result in effectively reducing on fruit fly infestation and a farmer with an acre of land, needs 4-6 M.A.T blocks and these can last 3-4 months before disposal. Farmers from forty- two (42) districts have accessed this technology from NARL since 2017, with Wakiso, Budaka, Iganga, Kasese and Kamuli districts leading its up-take. These M.A.T blocks are readily available for use by farmers through extension offices, farmer groups, agro-input dealers or directly from NARL, Kawanda.