Approaches to managing False Codling Moth in horticultural crops
Seeking novel solutions specific to the control or elimination of False Codling Moth in chilli plants
The Innovation Exchange challenge competition, delivered by KTN Global Alliance Africa, is supporting Flamingo Horticulture International to identify innovative approaches to False Codling Moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick) pest control. False Codling Moth (FCM) is an economically damaging pest impacting a variety of alternative host plants across its natural range in sub-Saharan Africa. For this KTN Global Alliance Africa AgriFood challenge competition, Flamingo Horticulture International seeks innovative control measures to eradicate this pest of economic importance.
Flamingo Horticulture International is a horticultural business with a worldwide footprint that covers farming, production, sales and marketing of fresh produce and flowers. Flamingo Horticulture International has farms situated in Kenya (near Mt Kenya and Lake Naivasha) growing many products such as beans, broccoli, spring onions, herbs, roses, and chillies.
The False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) is a native pest of significant value affecting food and horticultural products in Africa. The moth, and subsequent eggs and larvae, are present on more than 70 host plants, including chilli, flowers, mangos, bananas and avocados. The False Codling Moth (FCM) is well adapted for warm climates and is endemic in Africa. Current control includes the use of cultural, physical, biological and chemical methods.
To control the pest and prevent it from spreading to other geographies strict regulations prevent the export of infested produce out of East Africa. Therefore, the presence of False Codling Moth in any crop will result in both lowering the value of produce due to direct damage and yield unusable harvests due to the inability to market and export infested goods. As a consequence, the economic impacts of FCM for Flamingo Horticulture International are significant, risking the loss of crops.
FCM is a challenge facing all companies working within the wider horticultural sector in Kenya. FCM places the continued export of high value crops from Kenya to Europe at risk; a sector which is worth $2.272b to the Kenyan economy, and costs over $40m annually to control on roses, chillies, aubergines, and avocados, while the monetary value of potential interceptions and rejections by port health is about $55m.
Infestation by the moth is a year-round challenge but peaks in its population, and therefore infestations are seen in November through to March. Current control methods include the use of chemical pesticides and inspection by pickers and packers of products.
Flamingo Horticulture International seeks novel solutions specific to the control or elimination of FCM in the production of chilli plants or in the chillies themselves.
Also see our parallel challenge for managing false codling moth in produce during and after harvest: click here for details.
Global Alliance Innovation Exchange
Global Alliance Innovation Exchange is an Innovate UK KTN programme specially designed to help UK and international organisations search for game-changing solutions to innovation challenges. Through the programme, we support innovation transfer by matching industry or societal challenges to innovative companies from across a diverse range of sectors. Our success is built on our deep sector expertise, trusted independence and global network.