Westfalia to use insects for natural pest control in Chile

The innovation seeks to control agricultural pests through entomology. Westfalia Fruit Group’s newest venture is taking place in Chile and aims to minimize the use of pesticides in a more sustainable approach to crop management.

“The whole idea is to reduce chemical treatment to a minimum and we believe we can achieve that with this kind of approach. If our project could serve as a model for Westfalia globally we would be very proud,” said Juan Enrique Ortuzar, Westfalia’s R&D manager in the country. 

The company has an insect rearing facility at Pomaire, west of Santiago, and is initially testing the proposal in Westfalia Fruit Chile’s farms.

Working with specialists, the complex produces beetle predators such as Rhyzobius lophanthae and Coccidophillus citricola for the control of White scale in avocado and Red Scale in citrus. 

As for the control of Mealybugs in citrus, avocados and blueberries, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, known as ‘Mealybug destroyer’ is used.

“This season we are targeting 70% of our own farms to be participating in insect release programs and that increases to 100% for citrus and avocado,” Ortuzar said.

All establishments owned by the organization in the country currently practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  This now includes insect releases and a high-pressure washer to eradicate the small number of pests that remain when in the packhouses.

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