Plant will produce icipe Fruitfly Mania™
A facility to commercially produce a protein bait known as Fruitfly Mania™, a product developed through research by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) for the control of fruit flies, has been launched in Kenya.
Fruit flies are devastating pests of fruits and vegetables, which are estimated to cause losses amounting to millions of dollars through direct damage to produce, and indirectly due to loss of market opportunities, as the presence of these pests leads to the rejection of horticultural products from Africa in export markets.
The Fruit Fly Protein Bait facility has been constructed through a public private sector partnership between icipe and Kenya Biologics Ltd, on the latter's premises in Makuyu, Murang'a County.
"Protein is an important part of the diet of adult female fruit flies. Therefore, globally, specifically identified proteins are used in bait sprays laced with an appropriate toxicant, as way of killing female fruit flies in a manner that is not harmful to people, animals and the environment. Yet, although there is high demand for protein food baits in Kenya, currently there is no local producer of the products. This means that protein baits have to be imported and retailed at exorbitant prices, which makes them unaffordable to smallholder growers," explains Dr Sunday Ekesi, Interim Director of Research and Partnerships and Head, African Fruit Fly Programme at icipe.