GIS - 22 August, 2019: The inauguration of the Fruit Fly Rearing Facility, a mass rearing system producing high quality insects to the tune of Rs 50 million, aiming to control fruit fly population was inaugurated today at Réduit by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun.
Fruit flies are key pests attacking fruits and vegetables in Mauritius and they are namely Bactrocera dordalis, B. zonata, Ceratitis quilicii and C. capitata. In order to combat these pests, three species of fruit flies namely B. dorsalis, B. zonata and Z. cucurbitae will be mass reared in the facility so as to be released in plantations across the country and subsequently the fruit fly population will be suppressed without the use of pesticides.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun indicated that around 30% of agricultural products are damaged by fruit flies amounting to some Rs 160 million per year which in turn has a negative impact on the economy. The facility, he said, is being made available at the disposal of the Mauritian planters to control fruit flies in the most efficient and effective manner, to boost the production of fruits and vegetables and also to reduce financial losses.
He further said that the facility is expected to release some 15 million sterile flies per week to combat the fruit flies, adding that 720 million are expected to be released in a year. He expressed optimism that this sustainable and environmentally safe technique will drastically reduce the fruit fly population in the near future. It will also enable planters to reduce wastage in the production process of fruits and vegetables thus, contributing in an increase in planters’ revenue.
Government, Mr Seeruttun said, is committed to providing safe and favorable conditions to planters in view of boosting local production of fruits and vegetables and reducing their importation as well as the use of pesticides. The Minister enumerated several measures implemented by the Government, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the Vision 2030 to promote bio-farming and reduce the use of pesticides, thus, increasing the resilience of agricultural products to climate change and contributing to sustainable livelihood.
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