MoU signing: Riaz Mahmood-Biological Control NEFR Specialist-CABI, Prof Dr Abdu Ghani Lanjar, Dean Faculty of Crop Protection (FCPT)-SAU, Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Memon, Vice Chancellor of Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Engineer Syed Nadeem Shah, Project Director-SIAPEP

A tripartite agreement has been signed by CABI’s Biological Control NEFR Specialist Mr Riaz Mahmood, Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Memon, Vice Chancellor of SAU in Tandojam and Syed Nadeem Shah, Project Director at SIAPEP to establish a Biological Control Laboratory capable of mass rearing predator and parasitoids to reduce the need for less sustainable pesticides.

The oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is a prolific pest of more than 400 fruits and vegetables including apricot, coffee, banana, and passion fruit – though it tends to favour avocado, mango and papaya more. Mango hoppers, though targeting just one fruit, are nevertheless just as devastating – with complete loss of yield if young trees experience a severe attack.

The Biological Control Laboratory, based at SAU, will support 10 Natural Enemies Field Reservoirs (NEFRs) laboratories in the mango orchards at Tando Allah Ya district to manage the fruit fly and mango hopper. As part of the agreement, MSc and PhD students will also be involved in the research at the NEFR sites and the main laboratory.

Fruit fly

Riaz Mahmood said, “The fruit fly and mango hopper combined can have a devastating impact on the ability for smallholder farmers in Pakistan to cultivate profitable yields and, therefore, achieve sufficient incomes for themselves and their families.

“While it is important to also protect fruit crops to help ensure regional, national and global food security, the partnership will seek to reduce the reliance on more harmful pesticides through the adoption of the NEFR technique and wider biological controls – such as natural predators and parasitoids.”

Ashfaque Ahmed Nahiyoon, Project Manager shared that, CABI will be implementing this science-based field project in Sindh on five crops Mango, Guava, Cotton, Okra and Sugarcane. Funded by SIAPEP under world bank scheme, the work will be carried out in five districts Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Tando Allah Yar, Thatta and Larkana.

Additional information

Other partners who attended the signing of the agreement included Prof Dr Abdu Ghani Lanjar, Dean Faculty of Crop Protection (FCPT)-SAU, Dr Aslam Bukero, Associate Professor, FCPT-SAU, Prof Dr Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Director Planning, SAU, Mr Ghulam Mustafa Ujjan, Environment & Social Development Specialist ESDS-SIAPEP, Mr Ashfaque Ahmed Nahiyoon, Project Manager-CABI and Ashfaque Ali Dhaunroo-Entomologist-CABI.