18 January 1999
Predator mite protects cassava
PREDATORY mites are being used to reduce pest attacks on cassava crops in Africa.
The mite, Typhlodromalus aripo, is helping to substantially increase cassava yields by feeding on the spider mite pest Mononychellus tanajoa.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria, decided to search for a natural predator in the 1980s but found the answer only five years ago.
The institute recently expanded the project to release the predatory mite in continents 18 big cassava-producing countries, mostly in west Africa.