As the effects of T. absoluta continue to devastate farmers across East Africa, Russell IPM has some promising news from recent trials of their biorational solutions in Arusha, Tanzania. Field tests of Russell IPM’s 3-dimensional system have shown highly effective results in significantly reducing crop damage.
Mr Meneno Sedige of the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) coordinated the trials and found the 3 component system to be very effective for T. absoluta control. Application of the 3 biorational solutions was compared to conventional pesticide use. Leaf and fruit damage were recorded weekly in both open field and screen house farms, with less than 3% of damage observed when ReCharge, Antario and Biotrine were used. This was significantly less than the damage seen in control sites using conventional pesticides which suffered over 90% fruit and leaf damage.
The first step in the integrated solution is to apply ReCharge before transplantation of seedlings and repeat after 25-30 days. The beneficial microbes within ReCharge will kill overwintering pupae of T. absoluta before outbreaks of the 1st generation. The next step is to apply biological pesticides Antario and Biotrine to the foliage. Within these products the microbial extracts plus Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki will substantially suppress the Tuta population further.
Tuta absoluta, the tomato leaf miner, is a small moth that is causing big problems to agriculture and horticulture across the globe. The insects will mine the leaves and burrow into the fruits of tomato, potato, beans and aubergine making them unfit for consumption. In Tanzania, tomato harvests have dropped by up to 80% resulting in a 3-fold increase in the vegetables’ prices.
The microlepidopteron moth, which originated from South America, first arrived in Spain in 2006 and has since spread rapidly across the Mediterranean, North Africa and East Africa. Without monitoring and careful management, Tuta damage to crop can cause up to 100% losses to yield overnight.
Dr Julie Abisgold, programme coordinator for Russell IPM in Africa believes that these results are extremely promising and demonstrate that using the biorational products gives effective and affordable protection against this pest. All biorational products are now officially registered in Tanzania. Furthermore, to carry out detection and monitoring, Russell IPM has developed a Tuta-specific pheromone lure, called Tua Optima, which is used in combination with a sticky trap.
Together with Bytrade Tanzania Ltd, Russell IPM has conducted field demonstrations to show farmers how they can use the products and benefit from them. Interest in the products is now very high and Russell IPM continues to coordinate Farmers’ Days and workshops to increase awareness on this important pests and how the tomato leaf miner can be successfully controlled.