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New bio-innovation helps Kenyan mango farmers fight fruit flies

New bio-innovation helps Kenyan mango farmers fight fruit flies

Kenya

Mango farming in Kenya has become an economic venture that is shaping livelihoods for a lot of families in the country. In the country’s general horticulture scene, mangoes, avocados and passion fruits are the top export fruits.

Numbers show that the country earns over 100 billion shillings (1 billion USD) annually from the horticultural sector. Experts however say that the figures could double if the fruit fly menace is eradicated.

But now thanks to a new biological solution, farmers can now rest easy and watch their profits soar.

As Africanews correspondent Gabriel Kudaka reports, an initiative by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) has come up with pheromone traps to contain the fruit fly.

All my earnings are from mangoes, the house and all the things I have are as a result of mango farming.

The trap is basically liquid hydrolyzed protein bait solution which contains amines and organic acids to attract fruit flies inside the trap. The fruit flies then drown in the trap. Although the trap attracts both genders of fruit flies, it mostly target females hence breaking the breeding cycle, according to Farm Biz Africa.

With the new invention, mango farmers in the country are ripe with hope that their profits are as good as doubled.

Margarina Mikir owns a 30 acre mango farm in Kerio valley, in the Rift Valley region. She has 16 mango varieties among them, Kent, Van- Dyke and Apple.

“Mango farming projects have helped me. I’ve been able to educate my kids in schools and colleges. All my earnings are from mangoes, the house and all the things I have are as a result of mango farming,” says Margarina.

But amid her glowing tale of success fruit flies have also caused her and other mango farmers huge losses.

Francis Kiplagat who’s also a mango farmer said: “When I was being frustrated by these insects, a mango tree like this would have many mangoes but most of them would be spoilt by the flies so I would end up harvesting like 15 mangoes only.”

The fruit flies render their mangoes less attractive for export especially to the well-paying European Union markets. A survey across several mango growing farms indicates that the initiative has begun bearing fruits.

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