Logo
TAAT e-catalog for private sector
https://e-catalogs.taat-africa.org/com/technologies/biological-control-of-the-pod-borer-maruca-vitrata-with-exotic-parasitoids
Request information View pitch brochure

Biological control of the pod borer Maruca vitrata with exotic parasitoids

Low-cost natural pest control

The technology of "Biological control of the pod borer Maruca vitrata with exotic parasitoids" involves the strategic use of specific parasitic wasps as natural predators to manage and reduce the population of the destructive Maruca vitrata pod borer. These parasitoid wasps are sourced from the World Vegetable Center labs in Taiwan and are released in collaboration with national agencies in affected regions. The approach begins with the controlled rearing of parasitic wasps in laboratory settings, using live caterpillars of the pod borer as their hosts. Once these parasitoid wasps are ready, they are released either directly onto cowpea fields during the cropping season or on wild host plants during the off-season. After these releases, the parasitoids establish themselves in the environment, typically on wild vegetation. Over time, they naturally spread to cowpea fields, where the pod borer infestations occur. The key objective is to enable these parasitic wasps to reproduce, multiply, and effectively control the pod borer population. This biological control strategy is often coupled with the use of cowpea varieties that are resistant or tolerant to the pod borer and the application of eco-friendly products like neem or other compatible biopesticides. By utilizing this approach, the need for chemical pesticides is significantly reduced or eliminated. The ultimate goal of this technology is to create a self-sustaining population of parasitoid wasps that consistently and effectively reduce the damage caused by the Maruca vitrata pod borer to cowpea crops.

This technology is TAAT1 validated.

7•7

Scaling readiness: idea maturity 7/9; level of use 7/9

5,000 USD

To install an initial pilot colony of parasitoids

6,000 USD

Running costs

IP

Open source / open access

Problem

  • Damage from Maruca vitrata: Maruca vitrata, a pod borer, inflicts significant damage on cowpea crops, often causing yield losses of up to 80%.

  • Reliance on Chemical Pesticides: Historically, farmers have relied heavily on chemical pesticides to control Maruca vitrata and other companion pests like aphids and thrips in cowpea fields.

  • Environmental Impact: Overuse of chemical pesticides can have detrimental effects on the environment, including soil degradation and harm to beneficial insects.

Solution

  • Biological Control with Parasitic Wasps: Recent advances involve the introduction of two specific parasitic wasps from the World Vegetable Center labs in Taiwan. These parasitic wasps target Maruca vitrata and have shown to reduce its population by over 85% in areas across Benin and Burkina Faso.

  • Collaboration and Release Strategy: National agencies collaborate to release parasitic wasps onto cowpea fields during the cropping season or on wild host plants during the off-season. This collaboration ensures widespread distribution of the biocontrol agents.

  • Reduced Reliance on Chemical Pesticides: By incorporating parasitic wasps, farmers can reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides, thus minimizing environmental impact and promoting sustainable pest management practices.

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): The approach integrates biological control with the use of resistant/tolerant cowpea varieties and the application of biopesticides like neem products to manage companion pests effectively.

  • Awareness and Sensitization: Farmers need to be educated about the benefits of biological control and the importance of avoiding chemical pesticides in areas where parasitic wasps have been released. Sensitization campaigns can also highlight the significance of preserving alternative host plants for the parasitic wasps and the environment.

Key points to design your business plan

For Manufacturers:

Manufacturers of biological control agents for cowpea pod borer benefit from the increasing demand for sustainable pest management solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. This technology utilizes parasitic wasps to significantly reduce pod borer populations, leading to higher crop yields and lower losses, thereby enhancing food security and farmers' livelihoods.

Potential customers include agricultural research institutions, government agencies, seed companies, and private entities involved in pest management and sustainable agriculture. These stakeholders are crucial for disseminating and promoting innovative agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers.

Collaboration with agricultural research institutions, universities, and extension services is essential for the successful adoption and scale-up of biological control solutions. Partnerships with seed companies can facilitate the integration of biocontrol agents into seed treatment and crop protection offerings.

Manufacturers require access to advanced laboratory facilities for rearing and mass production of parasitic wasps, expertise in entomology and biological control, and robust distribution networks to effectively reach farmers.

Start-up costs for establishing a pilot colony of parasitic wasps are estimated at US $5,000, with annual running costs averaging US $6,000 per year per country, covering infrastructure, personnel, research, and production.

Manufacturers must adhere to national regulations for the import, production, and distribution of biological control agents, obtaining permits and certifications from relevant plant health authorities.

 

For Resellers:

Biological control agents resellers benefit from offering innovative and eco-friendly pest management solutions to farmers, addressing the demand for sustainable agriculture and reduced chemical pesticide use.

Cowpea farmers in regions where parasitic wasps have been released are potential customers for resellers, as are agricultural cooperatives and extension services that promote integrated pest management practices. 

Partnerships with agricultural extension services, farmer organizations and seed companies can facilitate the distribution and adoption of biocontrol agents among smallholder farmers. 

Resellers require access to biocontrol products, training in pest management, knowledge dissemination tools, and logistical support to reach remote farming communities.

Resellers incur costs associated with procuring and distributing biocontrol agents, training farmers in their use, and providing ongoing support and technical advice.

Resellers must comply with national regulations governing the sale and distribution of biological control agents.

 

For Users:

The use of biological control agents offers cowpea farmers increased yields, reduced yield losses due to pod borers and reduced reliance on chemical pesticides, resulting in improved profitability and environmental sustainability. 

Farmers benefit from partnerships with agricultural extension services, research institutions, and government agencies that facilitate access to and adoption of biocontrol technologies.

Early results suggest that cowpea yields can be increased by 40-60% through the use of parasitic wasps, leading to improved profitability for farmers by reducing production costs associated with pest control.

More

Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive low
Under 18
No impact
Women
Positive low

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Biodiversity
It helps them grow and thrive
Environment
It makes a big difference
Soil quality
It doesn't harm the soil's health and fertility

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Adopted
Countries with a yellow colour
Tested
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Benin Tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Tested Adopted
Mali Tested Adopted
Niger Tested Adopted
Nigeria Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool
Arid
Semiarid
Subhumid
Humid

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable Development Goal 12: responsible production and consumption
Goal 12: responsible production and consumption
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action
Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger

  1. Controlled Rearing: The parasitic wasps are reared in laboratory settings, using live caterpillars of the pod borer as their hosts.
  2. Release Timing: Once the parasitoid wasps reach maturity, they are released either directly onto cowpea fields during the cropping season or on wild host plants during the off-season.
  3. Collaborative Release: These parasitoid wasps are released in collaboration with national agencies in affected regions.
  4. Establishment and Spread: After release, the parasitoids establish themselves in the environment, primarily on wild vegetation. Over time, they naturally spread to cowpea fields, where pod borer infestations are prevalent.
  5. Reproduction and Multiplication: The key objective is to enable these parasitic wasps to reproduce and multiply, leading to effective control of the pod borer population.
  6. Complementary Strategies: This biological control strategy is often combined with the use of cowpea varieties that are resistant or tolerant to the pod borer, along with the application of eco-friendly products like neem or other compatible biopesticides.

Last updated on 22 May 2024