Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)
The coffee berry borer (CBB, Hypothenemus hampei, la broca del cafeto) is now truly a pest of world significance. Originating from Africa (exactly where we still do not know), it has dispersed to nearly all the major coffee producing countries of the world. Introduced to southern Brazil around 1913, it finally reached Venezuela last year via Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The only major coffee producing country without the berry borer is Costa Rica. Thanks partly to good quarantine (they have detected it several times at entry ports) and probably a bit of good luck, they have managed to avoid it, though as neighbouring Nicaragua has had the borer for several years, it can only be a matter of time before Costa Rica is finally conquered. The CBB may currently be costing Colombia alone roughly US$100 million per year and the world figure is probably higher than US$ 500 million.
Peter Baker of IIBC has provided us at PEST CABWeb® with a synopsis of some of the Coffee Berry Borer research currently going on.
The recent expansion of the CBB's range, especially in Latin America (e.g. now present in over 650,000 ha of coffee in Colombia) means that a considerable research effort is now being dedicated to this problem. For instance, over the last four years a large collaborative project funded by DFID (Department for International Development, the UK government donor formerly known as ODA) involving Cenicafé of Colombia and IIBC (International Institute of Biological Control), has been developing an integrated pest management approach to the problem. The USDA is also now actively studying this pest, with the Weslaco lab in Texas (together with ECOSUR in Mexico) looking at mass production of parasitoids and their Montpellier (France) lab looking for new natural enemies in Africa; the broad rationale for their involvement is to support legal crops in areas where coca or other narcotics are being grown.
Thanks to funding from the Common Fund for Commodities (Amsterdam), a new international project is about to begin between India, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica. This will expand parasitoid work and develop farmer participation studies in the countries involved.
With all this international effort, a large body of knowledge about the borer and its natural enemies is being amassed. Here we look at some of the trends emerging from this work.
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