Rice is the most important crop in southwestern China, Laos and Myanmar. Despite recent improvements, productivity is still low with millions of tons lost to pests, diseases and weeds. Intensive pesticide use has led to insecticide resistance, outbreaks of secondary pests and damage to farmers’ health. This project is introducing a biologically based pest management approach to safely and sustainably increase rice production, improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the region.
Global demand for animal-sourced foods is accelerating. Fishmeal and crops such as soya are key ingredients in animal feeds but are not ecologically or economically sustainable. Insect protein presents a viable alternative. The PROTEINSECT project is exploring fly larva (maggots), which are nutritious and can be mass produced at low cost, as animal feed. It will develop and optimize maggot production systems, determine safety and quality criteria and evaluate the performance of protein extracts.
Agricultural production in DPR Korea is low, resulting in food shortages and the need for international aid. Ensuring food security is a priority for the government. We have helped the newly-established Department of Plant Protection to sustainably improve agricultural production by optimizing its ability to develop and implement plant protection strategies. We have enhanced their operational capacity, improved access to knowledge and facilitated interactions with international counterparts.
Russian knapweed is one of several invasive plants of rangelands that arrived in North America as a seed contaminant in the 19th century, in this case from Asia. Biological control is often a good approach for these plants, but a nematode species introduced in the 1970s proved ineffective against Russian knapweed. Funded by a US and Canadian consortium, CABI has been tasked with researching new biological control agents for introduction, some of which are already showing promise.
International trade is a common way for insects to ‘hitch-hike’ their way to new countries. The brown marmorated stink bug, originally from East Asia, has become a harmful invasive pest of many fruit and vegetable crops in North America and Europe. Biological control using Asian or European natural enemies may be an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and sustainable way of managing the pest. CABI is drawing on its network of expertise in Europe and China to explore best options.
The invasive leek moth poses a significant and immediate threat to producers of leeks, onions, garlic and chives in North America. The larvae mine the green tissues, reducing the marketability of crops. The pests distribution is expanding, with no signs of suppression by indigenous natural enemies. We are supporting an integrated pest management (IPM) programme run by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to combat the leek moth using specialized natural enemies from its area of origin.