COFFEE production is expected to improve both in quality and quantity following innovations by the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI), to control pests.
A TaCRI researcher, Mr Frederick Magina said here that among the inventions, were different types of traps with four types of L adybird beetles that feed on mealy bugs, green scale and aphids, which he said are dangerous pests in coffee crop cultivation.
“TaCRI has developed a trap using discarded bottle used for drinking water, which is painted with red colour, with methylated spirit, banana juice and local brewed alcohols (i.e. mbege, dengelua, rubisi) so as to attract and later on trap the adult Coffee Berry Borer (CBB),” he said.
The trap, he noted, is able to reduce infection of CBB by between 80 and 85 percent in the field per year and that the trap could catch the adult CBB, whereby he said the number of the CBB catches ranged between 300 and 500 per week in the field.
Commenting on the L adybird beetles, Mr Magina said they were typical predators that feed on wide range of insect prey, whereby he said L adybird beetles have been used extensively in the biocontrol of insect pests on coffee farms.
“The L adybird beetles do feed on mealy bugs, green scale and aphids which are very dangerous insect pests as far as the coffee cultivation is concerned, hence the importance of these L adybirds,” he noted.
The expert mentioned other innovations by Ta- CRI meant to fight insect pests affecting coffee in the farm as the Bio-pesticides (botanicals), for the management of Antestia bugs and the use of oil and animal fats for the management of the White Coffee Stem Borer (WCSB), and yellow headed borers.
Mr Magina continued to say that the innovations by TaCRI were vital especially when put into consideration that coffee insect pests were the major factors which affected coffee production and its quality.
“Globally, coffee insect pests are estimated to cause loses of about 13 percent of coffee during the cash crop’s cultivation when they invade during crop season,” he said.
On the way forward, Mr Magina said, TaCRI was planning a mass multiplication and later on the release of the innovated insect pests control in coffee fields infested with the pests countrywide.
A move which he said would help prevent the destruction of coffee by pests and therefore increase its production.