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Thursday, 04 April 2013

EU-ICIPE project: Tsetse repellent technology

A new tsetse repellent technology, developed through a partnership between ICIPE – an independent research center based in Nairobi (Kenya) and the EU, reduces tsetse bites by more than 90% and has the potential to considerable increase the standard of living of East-Africa pastoralists.  
The tsetse control innovation consists in repellent collars fitted on the neck of cattle. The collars have a dispenser containing odors of animals avoided by tsetse (like the waterbuck, a big antelope species that is common in tsetse-infested areas of Eastern Africa).
These fly repellents reduce tsetse bites by more than 90%. The consequent reduction in animal infection can lead to an increase in the average cattle weight, a can determine up to a two-fold increase in the production of milk and the price with which animals are sold.   
The technique is especially suitable for pastoralists like the Maasai of eastern Africa, who move from one place to another, and do not gain much from using traps (located usually in the nearby of settlements).
The technology has been developed over the last twelve years, and is currently in the process of validation trials, process which will involve 300 pastoralists and more than 1,500 cattle over the next ten years. Several dispenser models have been developed and tested and ICIPE is working to find business partners in order to mass-produce the prototype repellent collars into commercial products.

Tsetse flies, found in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, carry  thyme trypanosome parasite that causes human African trypanosomosis (commonly called human sleeping sickness), and the livestock disease nagana. More than 300.000 people are infected with sleeping sickness, and more than 3 million cattle die every year after being bitten by tsetse flies.
Crop production in Africa is greatly affected by the combined effects of tsetse transmitted disease. ICIPE estimates that the flies are one of the main reasons why 80% of the continent’s land is still tilled by hand.
FAO estimates that up to $ 6.5 million a year are lost in Africa due to sickness spread by tsetse mosquitoes.
Over two-thirds of Africa’s population consists of small farmers, many of whom are dependent on livestock.

ICIPE (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology) is a pan-African research organisation that investigates tropical insect science for development. ICIPE was established in 1970 in order to conduct research on methods that are non polluting, non resistance inducing, and affordable to resource limited communities for  pest and vector management strategies.

Source: CTA Brussels, ICIPE