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Tuesday, 01 June 2010

EU funding for anti-tsetse project in Africa

The European Union (EU) and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have signed a financial agreement totalling 1.5 million euros to support a new project that will enable livestock holders in Africa, particularly pastoralists and agropastoralists, to access a revolutionary new device to combat tsetse flies that has been developed by the research centre. The technology involves the use of repellent collars, which contain either synthetic equivalents of the odours of animals that tsetse flies tend to avoid, for instance Waterbucks, or chemicals developed through molecular optimization of natural repellents found in the urine of cows. Worn around the neck of the cattle, these repellent collars slowly release the chemicals, thereby protecting the animals from the flies. The three-year project, which will be coordinated by Dr Rajinder K. Saini, Principal Scientist at ICIPE, is funded under the EU Food Security Thematic Programme Strategic Priority 1: Supporting the delivery of international public goods contributing to food security through research and technology. In Nairobi last Wednesday, Dr Peter Sturesson, Counsellor for Rural Development at the EU Delegation to Kenya, noted that by funding the project the EU Mission recognizes the importance of the livestock sector for the improved well-being of communities across Africa, especially that of the pastoralists who will benefit most from the ICIPE technology.