Biopesticide offers hope for sustainable agriculture in Africa

By Joseph Checky Abuje


The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has developed new biopesticides that gives hope to sustainable agriculture in Africa.

The bio-pesticide products included 417 botanicals, 274 microbial and 271 microbial extracts, or fermentation products.

Of the products, 23, including Neem and Bacillus thuringiensis and sex pheromones and microbials that are registered within sub-Saharan Africa, are recommended for further consideration.

Through a partnership with Real IPM Ltd, a Kenya-based private sector company, two ICIPE biopesticides are being commercialised as Campaign (icipe69) and Achieve (icipe78).

The campaign has been registered in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania, where it is being used against mealybugs, thrips and fruit flies, in crops such as cucumber, mango, papaya, roses and tomatoes, among others. In particular, Campaign® is receiving growing attention across Africa for its efficacy as a drench treatment to kill soil-dwelling stages of fruit flies.

Based on its effectiveness and increasing demand by mango growers, the Centre is exploring methods to enhance the use of Campaign®. In field trials, a combination of Campaign® and DuduLure, a locally developed bait, resulted in the suppression of 94.3% of fruit flies in mango orchards.

In fields treated with the biopesticide, fruit infestation was 7.2%, compared to 54.9% in untreated orchards. These outcomes present one of the strongest possibilities for the complete elimination of chemical pesticides in fruit fly control in Africa.

With this success, players in the Biopesticide production are now calling on African governments to start supporting local production by subsidizing bio-pesticides reagents.

Already, several farmers in Africa have turned to bio-pesticides to fight the fall armyworm (FAW) that is ravaging food crops in the continent.

According to the study, by the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), conducted in 19 African countries early this year, biopesticides have proven to be effective in combating the deadly fall armyworm.

The research has further revealed that effective intervention of bio-pesticide is becoming popular with farmers in the FAW-infested countries.

The study looked at 50 bio-pesticide active ingredients that have been registered in 11 countries in FAW’s native range where farmers have been managing this pest for centuries and 19 in Africa where it is relatively new.

The study was conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Tunisia was also included in the analyses as representing the Mediterranean countries that may be at risk of fall armyworm invasion.