The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representation in The Gambia has handed over fruit flies pheromone attractants and traps to the Agriculture Department to help stem the damage caused by these insects, as well as boost production and export of mangoes.
For the past years, fruit flies have often spoiled tons of mangoes undoubtedly becoming the number one enemy of mango export in The Gambia. In a bid to address this problem, FAO in The Gambia handed over an assortment of fruit flies pheromone attractants and traps as well as two laptops and one printer to officials of Plant Protection Services (PPS) of the Department of Agriculture.
Fruit and vegetable production is one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in The Gambia, and provides both income and employment to growers and exporters. “Mangoes, citrus, chilies, papaya, and watermelon are among the most common fruits and vegetables grown for domestic urban markets and export”, FAO said in a media release.
The organization says that the export sector is threatened by the existence of pests. “This problem is further compounded by the loss of market opportunities through the imposition of strict quarantine rules by importing countries.”
Lamin S. Darboe, Principal Plant Protection Officer at the Department of Agriculture said that stakeholders in the mango production sector have experienced a lot of losses due to the damages caused by the fruit flies.
“With this equipment, fruit flies’ damage on mangoes will be reduced and the quality of fruits produced by farmers will be improved. Consequently this will minimize unnecessary interception and rejection of commodities destined for export to the EU market” Lamin S Darboe said.
The Gambia produces a lot of mangoes which presents it as a great export opportunity. However, the export sector is threatened by the existence of insect pests notably fruit flies which cause damage to fruits and vegetables.
According to the FAO press release “reports from National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), the damage caused by fruit flies on crops, particularly mango, is estimated at 35%. The pest has increased interceptions and destruction of exported fruits from the Gambia that are destined for the EU market.
Ousman Touray, Senior Programme Officer at FAO, handed over equipment like methyl Eugenol (MEe), cure lure, Terpinyl Acetate (TA), trimilure, torula yeast tablets, DDVP, and yellow traps.
Touray advised that the equipment be used to monitor and study fruit flies to determine population dynamics and peak population period in mango orchards and pack houses. “The information derived from this will help to design timely and effective control measures against fruit flies in the major mango growing regions of the country’’ the release stated.