Fruit Fly Control in West Africa: the ECOWAS Syrimao Project reports on the Imple-mentation of its Activities and the 2022 Mango Campaign
Monday, 14 November, 2022 - 15:00

As part of the consolidation, expansion, and sustainability of the fruit fly control achievements in West Africa, the ECOWAS Innovative Regional Fruit Fly Control System Project (Syrimao) took advantage of its regional annual review and programming workshop held in Abidjan from 7 to 11 November 2022 to evaluate the 2022 activities and mango campaign. This workshop also enabled the various stakeholders to set realistic objectives for 2023.

Following the fruit fly control project (PLMF: 2015-2019), the "Innovative Regional Fruit Fly Control System Project (Syrimao) in West Africa" started its field activities in January 2021. The implementation of the 2022 Work Plan and Budget has contributed to progress towards the achievement of the 2022 goal of bringing the project to cruising speed.

Among other things, the project's efforts have resulted in (i) the training of 503 phytosanitary inspectors on the new European Union standards, (ii) the coverage of all 36 mango production basins by the surveillance network, (iii) the training of 634 producers on surveillance, and (iv) the development of two control technologies based on plant extracts and by-products of local plant processing.

The two technologies have shown in the field their biological effectiveness against fruit flies. The first formula, developed in Senegal, is an essential oil from a shrub. It is a male attractant for fruit flies, particularly the genus Bactrocera and some ceratitis. It can be used as a replacement for the synthetic methyl-eugenol previously used, as an attractant in the monitoring system essential for all mango exports. It is also effective in a "mass trapping" control method with a pesticide-free trap. The second formula, developed in Burkina Faso, is derived from brewers' grains. It has been tested as an effective food attractant against all species of fruit flies, especially females.

The various research action development efforts have made it possible to highlight (i) the regionalisation of the research programmes of the National Centre for Seeds and Fruits and Vegetables of Bobo-Dioulasso/Burkina Faso (CNS-FL) and its progress towards a regional centre of excellence and (ii) the existence, at the level of the CNS-FL, of tools to support the sovereignty of the sub-region in monitoring its territory in terms of diversity for rapid action in case of pest invasion.

Support to interprofessions and mango producers' associations has helped set up a fund subscription mechanism in Mali and Burkina Faso through a compulsory financial contribution (CFC), which consists of levies on fresh and dried mangoes traded to self-finance the sector. This support has also contributed to the conclusion of partnerships between interprofessions and input suppliers in Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali to facilitate producers' access to control products.

The monitoring system was extended to the 15 Member States, making it possible to identify 37 production areas, 360 orchards and to monitor 113,040 points. Numerous achievements have also been recorded in the capacity building of actors.

Although mango production was good, there was a significant increase in interceptions at the gateway to Europe. This situation is partly due to (i) poor application of good management practices in mango production, (ii) poor access to registered control products, (iii) failure of traceability systems and (iv) poor application of regulations in force in the field. In 2022, the ECOWAS zone recorded 95 interceptions for an export of 20,285 tonnes of mangoes compared to 41 interceptions for 90,000 tonnes in 2021. The 2022 mango marketing year was also marked by an early onset of rains, which led to an explosion of fruit nibblers in many production areas.

The main challenges in 2022 therefore remain quality issues, interceptions, and traceability, but producers remain confident and enthusiastic. Seventeen years after the advent of the fruit fly in West Africa, they feel they have taken all the steps towards control. The time has now come for concerted action to revamp the West African Mango Alliance (WAMA) and to kick the fruit fly out of the region.


RAAF: Feed West Africa

The creation of the RAAF by ECOWAS through a regulation in August 2011 and its official launch and installation in September 2013 in Lomé, Togo, is part of the operationalisation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) adopted in January 2005. It also reflects the need to create operational agencies with administrative and financial management autonomy to coordinate the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy projects and programmes. RAAF is an ECOWAS specialised Agency headquartered in Lomé, Togo.

RAAF mandate is to ensure technical execution of regional programmes and investment plans contributing to the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) by relying on regional institutions, organisations, and actors with proven expertise. The Regional Agricultural Policy rests on a modern and sustainable agriculture, based on the effectiveness and efficiency of family farms and the promotion of agroforestry and fisheries enterprises with the active involvement of the private sector.

In this perspective, the estimated 300 million citizens of the ECOWAS Community can ultimately take ownership for the realisation of the new vision of moving from an ECOWAS of States to an “ECOWAS of the People: Peace and Prosperity to All” by 2050.