Dr Thomas Groen and Dr Bert Toxopeus (both Faculty of ITC) helped the MoscaMed program in Guatemala to monitor fruit fly occurrences. In a NUFFIC sponsored Tailor-Made-Training (TMT), the researchers taught the staff of the MoscaMed Program how to create and validate maps based on observations made in the field. The TMT resulted in a highly improved online platform that delivers near real-time monitoring maps of fruit fly occurrences in Guatemala.
Fruit flies are a huge problem in Guatemala, they ruin harvests and fruit cannot be exported when an area hasn’t been declared ‘fruit fly free’. Many measures are taken to fight the insects, but – until now – it was difficult to see the effect of these measures. “The data captured by the network of field traps need to be shared among a wider community”, says Thomas.
That’s why the MoscaMed program has now developed a fruit fly dashboard. Similar to the Dutch government’s coronavirus dashboard, it brings together all kinds of different data, so that it is easier to get an idea of the situation at a glance. It delivers near real-time monitoring maps of the fruit fly occurrences and probability of their presence in Guatemala.
Figure 1: One of the maps in the dashboard; a map of the probability of the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly in Guatemala
The program tries to eradicate the Mediterranean fruit fly by dropping sterile male fruit flies on invested areas. These males mate with female fruit flies that then deposit infertile eggs that don’t develop into offspring. This reduces the reproduction rate of flies in an area. The dashboard also shows the number of sterile fruit flies to give an insight in the effectivity of this strategy in all areas. “It can help policymakers to decide where to drop the next batch of sterile flies”, says Thomas.
Dr Thomas Groen and Dr Bert Toxopeus are both associate professor at the Department of Natural Resources (NRS; faculty of ITC). They engaged in the TMT in 2019. The TMT was funded by NUFFIC as part of their Orange Knowledge programme. Orange Knowledge group training supports organisations in developing countries by training a selected group of staff.