The Sterile Insect Technique is one of the most environment-friendly methods for insect pest control.
Rabat – From March 2020 to May 2021, Morocco will import 440 million sterile flies from Argentina to combat the parasitic insects that adversely affect agriculture in the North African country.
The Argentinian newspaper El Economista reports that Morocco will import 10 million sterile flies from Argentina every week for 44 weeks.
The Argentine Institute of Health and Agricultural Quality of Mendoza will supply the insects, which should restore ecological balance in certain agricultural regions of Morocco, particularly in Agadir where fruit production is constantly destroyed by the Mediterranean fruit fly.
Morocco is on track to become the fourth main client of the Argentinian industry after Bolivia, Turkey, and Chile. Before striking a deal with Argentina, Morocco imported smaller quantities of sterile flies from Valencia, Spain.
The use of imported flies falls under the framework of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a genetic method in the fight against crop pests.
SIT is one of the most environment-friendly insect pest control methods.
The method entails the mass-rearing and sterilization of a target pest. Irradiation, such as with gamma rays and X-rays, is used to sterilize the insects so they remain sexually competitive but cannot produce offspring.
The sterilized male pests are then systematically released by air over defined areas, where they mate with wild females. The technique results in no pest offspring, effectively reducing the overall pest population.
Integrated with other control methods, the SIT has been successful in controlling a number of high-profile insect pests, including fruit flies, tsetse fly, screwworm, moths, and mosquitoes.