Trade in mango, avocado, papaya and citrus within the East African Community region, the European Union and China at import and export levels have been rising. However, meeting the increasing demand is being affected by a number of crop pests and diseases. In East Africa, scale insects – mealybug pests such as Papaya mealybug and fruit tree mealybug – are impacting cultivation and yields. To tackle these pests and increase trade, CABI is working with partners to increase compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary requirements through improved surveillance and management of scale insect pests in East Africa.
Invasive non-native species are a major threat on oceanic islands due to their vulnerability and endemism, typical of island ecosystems. On Tristan da Cunha, a remote group of islands in the South Atlantic, Brown soft scale, (Coccus hesperidum), an invasive alien scale insect, has infested Tristan’s only native tree, Phylica arborea; and is now threatening the extinction of one of Britain’s rarest bird species, Nesospiza buntings. There is, therefore, an urgent need to find an appropriate method to mitigate the impact of the scale insects and prevent the total collapse of the Phylica forest. The aim of this project is to select and safely test suitable biocontrol agents to reduce scale numbers below a damaging threshold and safeguard Tristan’s endemic buntings.
CABI is working in partnership, as part of a Darwin Initiative-funded project, to help secure livelihoods and the food security of smallholder farmers and their families in Kenya blighted by scale insects such as coffee mealybug and cassava mealybug.