Publiant des « newsletters » à un rythme soutenu, cette société, devenue une grande spécialiste de l’approche OGM/GMO de la lutte contre les invasifs, confirme son grand dynamisme:
* Pour les moustiques : les succès des essais au Panama, le début des essais en Floride, sous contrôle des agences publiques
* un nouveau centre de recherche en Angleterre
* la poursuite de l’expérience brésilienne
* ( Plus proche de nous) démarrage d’essais plein champ en Espagne pour la mouche de l’olivier Olive fly pest devastates the 2014 European olive harvest
Perfect conditions for the olive fly pest have left the European olive industry in crisis. As consumers we treasure the high quality and abundance of a huge variety of olive oils coming from the Mediterranean basin. But while olive oil is such an essential part of our diet it is also a critical part of the social fabric and economic prospects of many communities in Southern Europe and North Africa. It is a crop that represents a central economic and social pillar of towns and villages around the Mediterranean, as well as being a crop of historical and cultural importance. Last year, though, olive farmers were hit hard by an unprecedented surge in olive fly numbers; the worst in living memory.
The olive fly is a very significant pest in normal years, causing an estimated €3 billion/year in losses in the Mediterranean. The females pierce the skin of the fruit to lay eggs and maggots feed on the olives, spoiling flavour and reducing yields. Cold winters and hot summers usually combine to keep its numbers in check. In 2014, though, the weather did not follow this pattern and in many areas olive yields were infested to such an extent that it was not economic for farmers to harvest the remaining olives. As a direct result of olive fly damage, the 2014 harvest is down by an estimated 35% compared with most years, which will in turn result in much higher prices for consumers. Local communities in the region need 2015 to produce a bumper harvest, or farmers may be driven out of business.
One farmer in Italy said to us “On the mountain terraces here, agriculture depends on the success of olive harvests, because of the poor land which will not sustain other crops and in recent years the olive fly pest has wiped out several harvests. In 2011 the plague of flies across Europe was particularly severe, and in Como only three farms succeeded in bringing any olives to the mill for production at all, imperilling the remainder as viable businesses, and indeed the fortunes of the mill as well.”
Management of the olive fly is conventionally done by spraying insecticides, but effectiveness is limited, partly because of the insecticide resistance built up in fly populations. The Oxitec Olive Fly product offers a way of controlling the pest without relying on insecticides, and because it works by mating between Oxitec male flies and wild female flies, the effect is species-specific meaning there are minimal off-target effects. Glasshouse experiments have demonstrated the Oxitec fly’s ability to rapidly reduce target populations. Our next step is to test the product in the field, and we have applied for a permit for field trials in Spain. If these trials confirm our lab and glasshouse results to date, we believe that our product offers a uniquely effective and environmentally friendly way of preventing losses by this devastating fly.
En attendant, la France regarde passer le train….. Toutes ces nouvelles approches ne sont, semble-t-il, pas du tout examinées . Il en va de même des recherches concernant la lutte autocide que nous avons plusieurs fois évoquées sur notre site. Le réveil sera douloureux…..