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Wageningen University & Research helps China to develop biological control in greenhouses

Published on
November 29, 2018

Entomologists of the Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture from Wageningen University & Research will the coming 4 years work on the development of biological pest control in greenhouse vegetables in the Jiangsu province in China.

A new project started in October this year with a project meeting to keynote the activities for the coming 4 years. Several species of indigenous natural enemies were already identified during the first visit to the Taizhou greenhouse area, which will be evaluated for their potential as biological control agent.

China experienced a strong economic growth for many years. The technological and economic developments were spectacular and also resulted in an increasing demand for safe and healthy food by the new generation of the Chinese population. Pesticides are currently used on a large scale in all kind of cropping systems. The Jiangsu province is such an area where intensive greenhouse horticulture is practiced, mainly to provide metropolitans such as Nanjing and Shanghai, with fresh vegetables. The local government of Taizhou in Jiangsu province has the ambition to diminish pesticide use in vegetable production and promote the development of biological pest control. To fulfil this ambition, they started this strategic collaboration with Wageningen University & Research.

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Strategic collaboration

Biological pest control is largely developed in the Netherlands and has been applied successfully for decades in Dutch greenhouses. The Chinese greenhouse industry would like to learn from the Dutch knowledge and experience in biocontrol. This has been the reason for the local government in Taizhou to finance together with the Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute (JITRI) a 4-years project to develop biological pest control. The project is part of a strategic collaboration between JITRI and WUR. Within this project, scientists of WUR will also closely collaborate with scientist of Nanjing Agricultural University. The kick-off meeting of the new project was in October this year and included an IPM workshop in Taizhou, a visit to Nanjing Agricultural University and field work in the vegetable production area in Taizhou.

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Indigenous natural enemies

For China it is not allowed to import natural enemies from other countries. Entomologist from WUR will for this reason the coming 4 years focus on the development of biological control with indigenous natural enemies. These will be collected in wild vegetation in the Taizhou greenhouse area and reared for identification and evaluation in the laboratory and in greenhouse trials. The first visits to wild vegetation resulted already in the identification of 15 species of natural enemies. Promising candidates will be tested and evaluated within the project.