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Important and Use of Biological Control Agents in Tanzania

National Biological Control Programme (NBCP) is a unit under Plant Health Services in the Directorate of Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives.

It was established at Kibaha Sugarcane Research Institute in 1990 following the invasion of Cassava mealybug, Phenacoccus manihoti (Matile Ferero).  NBCP coordinates importation and use of biological control agents in the country. Activities involved include:

  • Identification and assessment of pests and weeds
  • Selection and testing of appropriate biological control agents
  • importation and multiplication of selected biological control agents
  • Release of biological control agents in affected areas
  • Monitor and evaluate efficacy of released biological control agents
  • Conduct training/Awareness creation to the public on ongoing biological control projects
  • Provide technical advice to stakeholders undertaking biological control research
  • Research on other management options compatible to biological control

Importation of biological control agents in the country is guided by Plant Protection Act 1997 and Regulations, 1998. Importers of biological control agents include Research Institutions, universities, private companies and private farmers. There is continuous interaction between NBCP and importers to ensure that the existing regulations are adhered to. According to the Act, approval for importation of bio logical control agents is given by National Plant Protection Advisory Committee (NPPAC). Importers are required to prepare dossiers for biological control agents intended to be introduced and submit to Secretary of Biological Control Agents Subcommittee (BCAS).  The dossiers are evaluated in BCAS meetings, and recommendation for approval made to NPPAC.

Since 1988, more than twenty species of biological control agents including predators, parasitoids, phytophages and pathogens have been introduced in the country. Through classical biological control approach,

pests of economic importance including cassava mealybug, cassava green mite and water hyacinyh have been successfully managed, leading to assurance of household food security and income to farmers. Recently, two species, Encarsia haitiensis and E. guadeloupae were introduced to manage spiraling whitefly, Aleurodicus disperses (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) which invaded the country in 2002.

A table below shows scientific names, origin, target pest and host crops of some of the biological control agents.  

Table 1. Origin, Target pest and Target host crop of the most effective Biological Control Agents that were Introduced in Tanzania between 1988 and 2002

S/No.Name of bio agentTypeOriginTarget pestHost cropImporterYear of introductionStatusImpact on target host
1Apoanagyrus lopeziParasitoidS. AmericaCassava mealybugCassavaMAFSC-NBCP1988EstablishedUp to 90% decline of Cassava mealybug population reported throughout the country.



PhytophageS. AmericaWater hyacinthWater bodiesMAFSC- NBCP1995EstablishedWater hyacinth infestation reduced by 70% in Lake Victoria
3N. eiechhorniaePhytophageS. AmericaWater hyacinthWater bodiesMAFSC- NBCP1995EstablishedAs above
4.Tamarixcia leucaenaeParasitoidTrinidad & TobagoLeucaenae psyllidLeucaenaeMinistry of Natural Resources1995EstablishedDecline of psyllid population and damage on T. leucaenae reported in Tanga and Morogoro regions



PredatorS. AmericaCassava green miteCassavaMAFSC-NBCP1998EstablishedUp to 60% decline of cassava green mite population and increase of up to 70% cassava yield reported
6.Cales noackiParasitoidFloridaCitrus wooly whiteflyCitrusMAFSC-NBCP/ARI Mikocheni1999EstablishedDamage due to Citrus wooly whitefly reported in Tanga and Morogoro regions
7.Cotesia flavipesParasitoidAsiaCereal stemborersCerealsMAFCS-NBCP2002EstablishedDamage due to Chilo partellus minimized in Eastern, Northern and Lake zones.
8.Diadegma semiclausumParasitoidEuropeDiamond back mothBrassicaMAFSC- NBCP2002EstablishedIncrease of income and better health due to reduced pesticide use  reported in Arusha and Tanga regions



MAFSC - Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives

NBCP – National Biological Control Programme

ARI – Agricultural Research Institute


Whom to contact

Coordinator, National Biological Control Programme,

P.O.BOX 30031, Kibaha - Tanzania

Tel/Fax + 255 23 240 2729