Biopesticide against fall armyworm registered in the United Republic of Tanzania


A biopesticide that fights fall armyworm (FAW) has been developed by researchers in the United Republic of Tanzania and registered for use there.

Research into the biopesticide was conducted at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha, led by Never Zekeya Mwambela and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Both field and laboratory trials of the biopesticide have been conducted.

Based on the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, the biopesticide has been named Vuruga which means “to disrupt” in the Swahili language. Mwambela, who began working on FAW control projects over two years ago as part of her PhD research, first isolated the A. oryzae fungus, and then injected it into FAW larvae at its various stages. Once she determined the appropriate concentration for field applications, plans were made for multilocation field trials of the A. oryzae.

FAO has taken the lead in responding to FAW through its Global Action for Fall Armyworm Control. One of the Global Action’s key components is reducing crop yield losses due to FAW, which can be achieved by getting effective biopesticides to farmers. Thus, FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), involving the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the EU-funded project STOSAR, provided the means that allowed Mwambela to conduct trials in eight regions in the United Republic of Tanzania. 

Vuruga is expected to be a major boost in controlling FAW, which has plagued farmers’ fields since its invasion of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2017.




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