Project overview

Contamination of water supplies due to pesticide run-off is a major problem in Brazil. This is particularly severe in cotton-growing areas because of the large amounts of pesticide used against insect pests such as the boll weevil. Furthermore, the cost of pesticides required has lead to a halving of the area of cotton grown with a consequent loss of income for farmers, particularly in the poorer North East of the country. This project has brought together UK and Brazilian commercial and academic partners with the aim of developing a lure-and-kill technology for control of boll weevil and other pests. This contains a pheromone to attract specifically the target pest and a low loading of insecticide or biopesticide to kill it. The devices will be constructed of novel biodegradable polymers so that they are simple and cheap to manufacture and deploy and do not need to be collected in at the end of the season. The devices will be field tested in Brazil and registered by the Brazilian partners. Their use should greatly reduce the amount of insecticide applied to cotton and give reduced contamination of groundwater, better and cheaper pest control and improved livelihoods for cotton growers.