Successful biological control of mango mealybug in Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda

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In the 1990s and 2000s, the exotic mango mealybug, Rastrococcus invadens, was effectively controlled in West Africa. This was achieved by introducing two parasitoids from India, the native country of both mango and mango mealybug.

In 2019, the same pest was detected for the first time in Eastern Africa, specifically in Rwanda. The infestation led to a staggering 92% reduction in mango production in 2022, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The cumulative mango production losses for Rwanda alone between 2019 and 2023 were estimated at USD 23.6 million.

To address this, the Food and Agriculture Organization financed a classical biological control program managed by the Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE) and executed by IITACGIAR. The two biocontrol agents were reared in the insectaries at IITA-Benin, where extension agents from Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda received training in mass production and monitoring techniques. Initial field releases with parasitoids supplied by IITA-Benin took place in Burundi in May 2022 and Uganda in October 2022. Both releases were conducted near the Rwandan border.

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