Project 1/1/76DGDR/1999 (“Luta autocida contra a mosca da fruta”).

The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) is one of the most important fruit pests in the southern most region of Portugal, the Algarve. The widespread use of pesticides to control Medfly in this region causes adverse effects to health and the environment. In order to investigate ways of minimizing these effects, a research project was set up to assess several aspects of the feasibility of replacing pesticides against Medfly with the sterile insect technique (SIT). This project was co-funded by the EU programme Interreg II A (1994-1999).

The project was organised by the Algarve Regional Directorate of Agriculture (Direcção Regional de Agricultura do Algarve) in colaboration with:

  • Citriculture Centre (Centro de Citricultura)
  • The University of the Algarve (Universidade do Algave)
  • Regional Directorate of Algriculture of Madeira
  • National Institute of Agricultural Research (Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária)

The results were compiled in a publication organised by Professor Passos de Carvalho, senior researcher at the INIA.

Larcher-Carvalho, A., Monteiro, C., Soares, C., Mumford, J., Entrudo Fernandes, J., Passos de Carvalho, J., Madeira, M.M.m Coelho, M., Elisário, P., Rocha, R., Mangerico, S., Viegas, V. (2001) Caracterização da problemática da mosca-do-Mediterrâneo, Ceratitis capitata. Direcção Regional de Agricultura do Algarve, Portugal, 106 pp.

Economic analysis of Algarve-Med project

One of the aims of this study was to investigate the economic feasibility of SIT. The economic evaluation was conducted for the whole of the Algarve, one sub-area within the Algarve (Coast) and two further sub-areas within the Coast sub-area (Silves and Tavira). The areas were defined according to Medfly host distribution. For each scenario, the options of importing sterile flies or building a local rearing facility were compared.

It was concluded that, under the assumptions of the model, SIT is not economically feasible if applied to the whole of the Algarve. By contrast, it is economically feasible in the Coast and Silves scenarios due to the higher concentration of hosts. The Coast scenario with the option of building a rearing facility is the more viable option, with the added advantage of more growers being included. However, the high costs and level of risk associated with this option suggest that the project could be implemented firstly in Silves, with lower running costs and degree of uncertainty, and thereafter extending SIT to the whole of the Coast.

Before embarking on an SIT project, the exact size of the areas to be treated should be delimited using satellite imagery data.

In: Larcher-Carvalho A., Mumford J. (2004), Cost-benefit analysis for the suppression of the Mediterranean fruit fly in the Algarve using the sterile insect technique.; Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on fruit flies of economic importance, B. Barnes editor, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 6-10 May 2002. Isteg Scientific Publications, Irene, South Africa: 2004. 143-153. 11 ref.