A facility to commercially produce a protein bait known as Fruitfly Mania™ for the control of fruit flies has been launched in Kenya. Fruit flies cause damage to agricultural products of up to US$ 2 billion in Africa every year.

The product was developed through research by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi. Biovision Foundation supported this research, together with numerous other organisations. The facility for its production was set up in partnership with Kenya Biologics Ltd, in Makuyu, Murang’a County.

“Protein is an important part of the diet of adult female fruit flies. Therefore, globally, specifically identified proteins are used in bait sprays laced with an appropriate toxicant, as way of killing female fruit flies in a manner that is not harmful to people, animals and the environment. Yet, although there is high demand for protein food baits in Kenya, currently there is no local producer of the products. This means that protein baits have to be imported and retailed at exorbitant prices, which makes them unaffordable to smallholder growers,” explains Dr Sunday Ekesi, Interim Director of Research and Partnerships and Head, African Fruit Fly Programme at icipe.

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Invited guests during the launch of the Fruit Fly Protein Bait Facility, including technical and financial support partners, collaborators from research institutions and farmers, government representatives and members of the press.

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(L-r): Dr Sunday Ekesi,icipe Interim Director of Research and Partnerships and Head, African Fruit Fly Programme; Dr Segenet Kelemu,icipe Director General and CEO; Dr. Wolfgang Kasten, Head of the ITAAC project, GIZ, Germany and Mr Chris Kolenberg, Managing Director, Kenya Biologics Ltd, pictured during the launch with Fruitfly Mania™.

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Ribbon cutting ceremony (l-r): Ms Jasmin Fraatz, Manager Energy Portfolio, GIZ Kenya, representing Mr Hendrik Linneweber, Country Director, GIZ Kenya; Dr Segenet Kelemu,icipe Director General and CEO; Dr Sunday Ekesi,icipe Interim Director of Research and Partnerships and Head, African Fruit Fly Programme; Dr Wolfgang Kasten, Head of the ITAAC project, GIZ, Germany and Dr Eliud Kireger, Director General, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.

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Invited guests during the launch of the Fruit Fly Protein Bait Facility, including technical and financial support partners, collaborators from research institutions and farmers, government representatives and members of the press.

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(L-r): Dr Sunday Ekesi,icipe Interim Director of Research and Partnerships and Head, African Fruit Fly Programme; Dr Segenet Kelemu,icipe Director General and CEO; Dr. Wolfgang Kasten, Head of the ITAAC project, GIZ, Germany and Mr Chris Kolenberg, Managing Director, Kenya Biologics Ltd, pictured during the launch with Fruitfly Mania™.
 Fruitfly Mania™ will retail at 70% less the cost of other commercially available products. The Fruit Fly Protein Bait Facility has a production capacity of 2,000 litres per day, enough to meet the local demand of over 229,000 households whose livelihoods depend on mango production in Kenya. An additional 400,000 mango growers will benefit from Fruitfly Mania™, once the product is registered across East Africa (to include Uganda and Tanzania).

“This outcome will improve the health of people, animals and the environment, and also increase the global competitiveness of fruits from Africa. As a result, we will support the transformation of the lives of millions of people involved in the value chain, as is indeed our vision,” concludes Dr Segenet Kelemu, icipe Director General and Chief Executive Officer. (ICIPE)

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