5 Feb

The European Union estimates 3 million cows in Africa are killed every year by Tsetse flies. Tsetse fly is one of the most dreaded livestock pests unique to Africa which are predominantly found in the wildlife reserves affecting the communities living in the periphery of wildlife ecosystems.
According to Live science tsetse fly is not like most insects. It has a very low reproductive rate, laying a single live pupa in the soil just a few times each year. The flies travel so fast that they can dart into a moving car to bite someone. The good news is that they’re also very dependent on environmental conditions, meaning they die off quickly if it’s too hot, too cold or too dry. Scientists in Kenya have come up with a Technology that will fight with tsetse fly.


The Tsetse fly repellant technology is expected not only to help farmers in Africa but also will help in enhancing food security. The recent research by African Insect Science for Food and Health (ICIPE) led to the development of tsetse repellent technology expanding the arsenal of techniques for trypanosmosis control while in human is known as sleeping sickness.

This map, was generated using climate and land cover data, shows the presence of the disease-carrying tsetse fly across the country of Kenya by Joseph Messina. Researchers say the collar is both cow and environment friendly product. Depending on the number of cows a farmer has, one or four cows are fitted with the collar which can be mistaken to be a heavy metallic necklace. This technology involves controlled release of potent repellents from the prototype dispensers at a constant rate. So far the results by ICIPE indicate that these repellents provide substantial protection to cattle.

We had a chance to have Steve Wathome, program manager; Agriculture and Rural Development– European Union demonstrate to us how the collar works on the cows. Wathome noted that the most affected areas are in the Coast saying “We have managed to impact positively on around 230 households that live around Shimba Hills Park who were negatively affected by the tsetse fly


Dr Rajinder Saini of ICIPE says “Most herders prefer the repellent technology compared to other tsetse and trypanosmosis control options due to the technology’s simplicity and mobility. This technology once fully optimized will not only directly benefit the livelihoods of the marginalized pastrolists and agro-pastrolists but even the livestock in open rangelands.” So far there has been a huge demand of the dispensers.
In the next phase of the project, we will carry out tests for sleeping sickness so that in addition to livestock we can protect man from tsetse bites. Our aim is to invest in environment friendly technology that will improve the livelihoods of pastrolists” explains Wathome.


The research conducted by ICIPE and other collaborators was funded by the European Union to a tune of 1.5 million Euros. Also another 4 million Euros from EU is expected to fund a similar technology for camels which suffer from Sura disease.




By Winnie Kamau
Nairobi, Kenya



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