23 July 2019 - CABI has teamed-up with Swiss biological control producers ÉLÉPHANT VERT to lead a fresh fight against the global scourge of crop-destroying locusts and grasshoppers with a safe and environment friendly product – Green Muscle™.
Locusts and grasshoppers regularly decimate crops in many parts of Africa and Asia with locusts, in particular, responsible for invading in swarms of millions – leaving behind ravaged fields and putting livelihoods and food security at severe risk.
For example, Madagascar has been facing a plague of the Malagasy Migratory Locust since 2012 with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stepping in to assess the impact on crops and pastures in order to inform all stakeholders and enable them to undertake effective measures to manage the pests.
Green Muscle™ was made possible thanks to an internationally-funded programme launched to find an effective biological control for the pests. This led to the development of the product based on the most promising biological control agent, a fungus called Metarhizium acridum during the 1990s. While the Metarhizium genus can be used to kill a wide range of insects, Green Muscle™ is based on a specific isolate which only attacks locusts and grasshoppers, effectively stopping them in their tracks.
Dr Dick Shaw, CABI’s Country Director UK, said, “Our partnership with ÉLÉPHANT VERT is an exciting new chapter in the story of Green Muscle™ which has already proven its ability to fight locusts and grasshoppers across Africa, as long ago as 2009, for example, the FAO reported that the product had effectively treated 10,000 hectares of Red Locust-infested land in Tanzania which otherwise would have caused a full-blown invasion and threatened the food crops of 15 million people.”
The partnership sees CABI licensing Green Muscle™ to ÉLÉPHANT VERT and providing the starter cultures from its liquid nitrogen stores. ÉLÉPHANT VERT will use its extensive workforce and facilities to mass produce and market the product across Africa and parts of Asia.
Vincent Thieyre, Director of Product Development and Partnerships at ÉLÉPHANT VERT, said, “We are delighted to be working alongside CABI, who share our passion to promote environment friendly biological solutions, to manage pests such as locusts and grasshoppers which threaten economic stability and global food security. Together we have the technical know-how and production capacity to bring to a wider market an effective product which can make a real difference, as part of an integrated pest management approach, to tackle these and other invasive species.”
CABI’s research has confirmed that Green Muscle™ is effective against various species including Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), Red locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata), Brown locusts (Locustana pardalina), Sahelian tree locusts (Anacridium melanorhodon), Variegated grasshopper (Zonocerus variegatus), Senegalese grasshopper (Oedaleus senegalensis), African rice grasshoppers (Hieroglyphus daganensis) and Sahelian grasshoppers.
Notes to editors
CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.
Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.
We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries (and lead agencies) including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.
About ÉLÉPHANT VERT
As an expert in micro-organisms, in the formulation of bio-inputs and in innovative approaches, ÉLÉPHANT VERT is committed to creating, promoting and distributing innovative, efficient and accessible biosolutions to farmers, with a tangible impact on agricultural profitability and sustainability.Established in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania, Switzerland, Belgium and France, ÉLÉPHANT VERT has more than 850 employees, is developing an offer in Africa (North, East and West), as well as in Europe, and participates in the conversion of agriculture towards sustainable models. ÉLÉPHANT VERT was created by Antenna, a Swiss foundation, committed to the diffusion of scientific, technologic, economic, and medical solutions to address the essential needs of the most vulnerable communities.
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