Fruit Fly is No More a Menace, Thanks to Israeli Biofeed

In India, It is  the mango season and with monsoon following the summer, the flies all over create problems. Fruit flies can be a problem year round, but are especially common during late summer/fall because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables.  Tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes and other perishable items brought in from the garden are often the cause of an infestation developing indoors.

Fruit flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, potatoes, onions and other unrefrigerated produce purchased at the grocery store.

India has been facing repeated restrictions on its mango exports to European nations and other western countries due to infestations of fruit flies.

Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. But they also will breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags. All that is needed for development is a moist film of fermenting material. Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home. Here, the Modiji`s `Swatch Bharat Mission` comes to rescue from the flies menace.

An Israeli company Biofeed, a  start-up that uses latest technology to combat fruit fly menace in the mango crop is likely to brighten the prospects of horticulture exports from India.

Israely firm Biofeed has come up with an environment friendly and non-hazardous technology to reduce fruit fly infestations in the horticulture crops such as mango, guava, sapota (chikoo), pomegranate and some citrus fruits.

The company uses GCFR or gravity-controlled fluid release platform to control pests, primarily the Oriental Fruit Flies also known as bactrocera dorsalis, which is considered a destructive pest in fruits.

The company claimed that the Oriental Fruit Flies caused over $3 billion damage to India's $9.2-billion mango industry. Estimates suggest about 9 million tonnes of mango is lost in India due to fruit fly infestation.

Underlining its significance, Biofeed promoter Nimrod Israeli said that the oriental fruit fly menace is prevalent across 70 countries affecting 200 different crops of fruits and vegetables. In India, it is the number-2 pest hurting the crops. Having experimented successfully on four mango farms in Karnataka last year, Israely is now taking the technology to other States such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The company aims to bring about a couple of hundred acres under this technology. "Other States such as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have also expressed their interest about this technology," added Israeli.

"We have already tied-up with Jain Irrigation for our project in Tamil Nadu. For other States, we are looking for government support to reach out to farmers. In Gujarat, we have already signed an MOU with the State Government. We will cover mango crop in the State in the coming season," he added. "Our aim is to reduce the infestation in fruit crops by about 50 per cent. But in our experiment in Karnataka, we were successful in reducing the infestation by as much as 95 per cent. This means, there is an increase in the marketable production to that extent, thereby resulting into gain for the farmers with better production," informed.

Biofeed, which claim s to be the first and only company to have a specific solution for the oriental fruit flies, is one of the six Israeli start-ups that are part of 'India-Israel Innovation Bridge' programme initiated by the Prime Ministers of the two nations with an aim to help Israeli companies to leverage their technologies and provide better solutions to Indian market.

Biofeed is also looking to set up a manufacturing facility in the country to make the solution locally.

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