New repellant to keep away tsetse flies
A research firm has has launched a new tsetse repellent technology to reduce livestock diseases. The repellent by The International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology protect the animals from tsetse flies which have become a nightmare for livestock farmers neighbouring the Tsavo National Prk. The repellent is put around the neck of the cattle.
Dr Rajinder Saini, lead researcher of the innovation, said the repellent collar has been developed using urine of cows.“ Livestock keepers around the Shimba Hills had given up keeping high grade cattle due to the tsetse menace and such developments would take the rural people out of the poverty trap,” said Chirau Ali Mwakwere, the Environment and Mineral Resources minister, launching the innovation.
He urged the European Union who have funded the innovation to support more of such projects that seek to address and improve livelihoods in rural areas. Mwakwere said he will make sure farmers get the technology. Farmers, who are now using the repellent, can now graze their animals early in the morning or late in the evening when the flies are most active. The farmers used to light fires to smoke away the flies.
Dr Saini noted that the repellent performs better that traditional traps and the disease levels in protected cattle had been reduced by more than 90 percent. “ Work is in progress to further optimize and mass produce these prototype collars into commercial products which are non-metallic, cheap affordable and easy to use by livestock keepers,” he said.
Roger Finan, ICIPE's director of finance and administration said such technologies are not developed overnight but the potential benefit in time and money of such an investment can be substantial. “ We have been an African partner in tsetse fly controlling for over 25 years and hope that such new technologies will lead to new development agenda for the control of tsetse and trypanosomiasis (disease caused by the tsetse flies) which contribute to poverty in the continent,” Bernard Rey, EU delegation head of operations said.