BANGKOK, THAILAND (17 July 2010) — In the start of a carefully crafted emergency campaign to thwart a pest outbreak that is wreaking havoc on Thailand’s vital cassava production, agricultural researchers will release a quarter of a million parasitic wasps in the northeastern part of the country.
Thailand’s cassava industry alone accounts for more than 60 percent of global exports of this tropical root crop, which is critical for food security and economic growth in many developing countries. About 5 million growers across Southeast Asia supply cassava to domestic and foreign processing industries, which convert the roots to animal feed and biofuels and also extract starch from them for use in a wide variety of food and other products.
Thailand’s Department of Agriculture is expected to officially start the release of Anagyrus lopezi (the wasp’s scientific name) as a form of biological control in the country’s northeastern province of Khon Kaen on Saturday (17 July), following two small scale releases to evaluate environmental impact.
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