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Advanced fruit fly training hosted in Stellenbosch

In December 2022, delegates from across sub-Saharan Africa attended an advanced course in fruit fly control in Stellenbosch. The course was developed within the framework of the international project F3: Fruit Fly Free, which is funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF).

Fruit fly training has been presented by Drs Marc de Meyer and Massimiliano Virgilio from the AfricaMuseum in Tervuren, Belgium, in various parts of Africa for a number of years. This particular course forms part of a series of tutorials designed in collaboration with SU’s Prof Pia Addison from the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology. Invited guest speakers included Drs Minette Karsten, Aruna Manrakhan and Francois Bekker (SU research associates), Prof Chris Weldon (University of Pretoria), Dr David Nestel (Israel) and Dr Welma Pieterse (SU).

Fruit flies pose a severe threat to agricultural production and productivity in Africa. Fruit fly infestations reduce the quality of produce, disrupt trade, and result in huge financial losses, which ultimately affect livelihoods and food security on a continent that can least afford it

The six participants hailing from Mozambique, Burundi, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa were fully funded by the STDF. All six had prior experience of fruit fly research. Therefore, the course aimed to provide more detailed training to equip participants as key experts in their regions in relation to the taxonomy, trapping and monitoring of fruit flies, as well as record-keeping and the use of databases.

Intended as a “train the trainers” initiative, the course will hopefully result in further localised workshops in South Africa and the rest of the sub-Saharan African region to provide training on basic fruit fly identification and monitoring.

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