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The integrated struggle against citrus ‘greening’ in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Koen VAN ELSEN student laureate

°1977 Belgium
Bio-engineer agricultural sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 2001

Geïntegreerde bestrijding van citrus ‘greening’ in de Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The citrus production (orange and lemon trees, etc) forms an important source of revenues for the small farmers of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. This production is equally important for the food security of the local population, given its vitamin supply. Among the major parasitic constraints this fruit production is confronted with, we find the ‘greening’ illness, which is due to a bacterium, Liberobacter, to be found in the plant vessels. This bacterium is transmitted from tree to tree by Diaphorina citri, a stinging and sucking insect, which feeds on the sap in the trees. The struggle against this illness is mainly based on the use of insecticides, aimed at fighting the vector of this bacteriosis. The use of such insecticides may entail high risks for both the farmers and the environment. Moreover, their thoughtless use often provokes the massive destruction of the natural enemies and the proliferation of the vector insect, thus aggravating the situation. The work realised by Koen Van Elsen studied the effect of different insecticides on a natural enemy of ‘greening’, Diaphorencyrtus aligharensis. The aim of the work was to identify the insecticides that combine best efficiency and harmlessness towards the micro-fauna.

Report by Prof. Dr. Philippe Lepoivre, Phytopathology Unit, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, Belgium