Private Sector Investment in Mediterranean Fruit Fly Mass-Production and SIT Operations – The “Sheep” of the Private Sector Among the “Wolves” of the Public Good?
Since the first large-scale use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) in southern Mexico in the 1970s, the fruit industry has been the major beneficiary and sometimes a financial contributor to the technological development of Mediterranean fruit fly SIT. Until recently, the involvement of the private sector in the “SIT package” was limited to the commercialization of traps, lures, attractants and insecticides, and occasionally the provision of specific services such as complementary suppression or monitoring, or the transport, emergence, feeding and release of sterilized flies, however not the mass-production of sterile males. Assessment in 2000 of the potential market for supplying sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies in the Mediterranean basin, and more recently the development of a model business plan for insect rearing facilities, generated some interest from the private sector to invest in the mass-production of the Mediterranean fruit fly. Since then, three private companies have been established namely InSecta Ltd in the UK, SIT Africa Ltd in South Africa, and Bio-Fly Ltd in Israel. Bio-Fly Ltd was established as the result of a bottom-up approach in which all stakeholders, i.e. grower communities, government institutions, supranational organizations and the private sector were consulted to quantify the needs for sterile flies, to identify the most suitable private partner, and to construct the facility with all the technical support available from the various stakeholders. Based upon these recent experiences, it was found that the sustainability and expansion of these companies in the near future will depend largely on: (1) the plans and capabilities of competing government-funded facilities to supply sterile flies at semi-subsidized prices to meet a growing demand in the Mediterranean region, (2) an increasing demand for environment-friendly pest control methods due to consumer pressure and more stringent laws regulating pest levels and insecticide residues, (3) the awareness of the end-users and beneficiaries of the availability of a cost-effective SIT technology for integration with other environmentfriendly technologies available on the market, (4) national policies promoting and facilitating an area-wide approach to pest control and the transfer of SIT know-how, and (5) to some extent, the licensing of technology and the outsourcing of the management of existing mass-rearing infrastructure from government institutions to the private sector.
KEYWORDS commercialization, Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, SIT package, rearing, private sector, public good
KeywordsGeographic Information System Sterile Insect Tech Rear Facility Economic Entomology Vegetable Industry
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.