CIC Holdings PLC (CIC), recently joined hands with the National Research Council and the Industrial Technology Institute to conduct a collaborative study to find a solution on how to manage the damage caused by fruit and melon flies. The Public Private Partnership project successfully launched their first locally synthesized pheromone trap to manage the fruit fly problem in Sri Lanka.
CIC commenced the commercializing process of the product under the brand name ‘BASCA’ to cater to the existing demand and will be available within all leading agri-input marketing retails of the country. The para-pheromone is formulated using the extracts and by purifying a variety of Maduruthala – Thulsi (Ocimum Sanctum) that has the ability to attract and trap male fruit flies and thereby control the growing fruit fly numbers. The market ready pheromone formula is made incorporating the extracted essential oils into a natural mineral material and a natural polymer. The product has being evaluated as equally effective as the imported synthetic pheromone in field trials conducted in institute of the Department of Agriculture at Mahailluppallama, Makandura, Puttlam, Kananwila, Balangoda, etc.
Commenting on the project, Samantha Ranatunga – Managing Director / CEO, CIC Holdings stated, “CIC identified the need of the Department of Agriculture and produced this solution as a potentially viable product to be included into our portfolio. As an eco-friendly creation that would bring high return on investment for local farmers. The observed product effectiveness illustrated during the preliminary investigation indicated that a significant reward of this project is long term with a benefit to product manufacturers. The product uses 100% resident raw materials as there and there is no use of toxic chemicals or no chemical residual impact on the final harvest. Most importantly it does not target animals and beneficiary insects and the natural eco-system will not be harmed or affected with the use of the product.”
Fruit fly damage is turning out to be a national issue, mainly affecting the field of Agriculture. The annual loss in fruits and vegetable crops exemplifies how much of an impairment the fruit fly menace has caused to the Sri Lankan economy in the recent past. Records indicate that there is more than 20% of yield loss in cucurbits (Pumpkin / Squash) and more than 40% yield loss in mango crops, due to these vicious fruit fly attacks.
With the rejection of some imports from Sri Lanka by the European Union due to the warning of fruit fly problem in 2014, the Department of Agriculture, took an initiative to introduce a cohesive long term island-wide project on sustainable fruit fly eradication. Prior to this introduction, CIC Holdings initiated the project to come up with a solution by observing the local environment and global thereat on the fruit fly management.
Further commenting on the project, Dr. Rohan Wijekoon – Director General of Agriculture, stated that, “This is a tremondous milestone for the Agriculture sector in Sri Lanka. The final test results were significantly inspiring compared to the currently commercially available products in the market and the great thing about the final outcome of this private public partnership is that we were able to come up with a natural plant extract locally to control fruit fly damage in Sri Lanka.”