COMPANY PROFILE OF ZAMORANO UNIVERSITY
Panamerican Agriculture University Zamorano is a preeminent institution located in Honduras, Central America has recently signed a collaboration with Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation a USAID program for the scale-up of the biological control laboratory to increase the production of beneficial nematodes that control insect pests for commercial distribution throughout the western departments of Honduras.
Zamorano Biological Control Laboratory will increase the production of beneficial nematodes with a proven alternative method using bioreactors to enable the production of large quantities of nematodes in a short period of time. These beneficial nematodes attack important pests like White grubs (Phyllophaga spp.) and the Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemos hampei) in fruits, vegetables and coffee crop.
The laboratory will be remodel with an additional space that will be used for peripheral equipment to assist the biofermentors for sterilization and aeration of the production and scale-up of beneficial nematodes. Investment in the scale-up technology of Zamorano’s laboratory, specifically with new equipment and additional space, will increase the rate of production to 1,000 doses month. This will allow Zamorano to produce 20 times more doses a of beneficial nematodes, 600 versus 12,000, each year. Once the scale-up is complete, Zamorano will market the technology to smallholders throughout the western departments of Honduras. In close collaboration with the USAID-funded MERCADO, field technicians of IHCAFE (Honduran Coffee Institute) and project technicians that will hold field days and train smallholders in the use of bio-control applications with emphasis in the adequate use of beneficial nematodes and the advantages of adapting this technology. Field technicians will provide direct technical assistance. Zamorano will educate smallholders on the benefits of the technology including: the non-toxic benefits to humans, the relative specificity to their target pests, and can be applied with standard pesticide equipment. Another critical element of this partnership is building a commercial distribution channel for beneficial nematodes and other biopesticides. Zamorano will work with distribution partners to sell a minimum of 80 percent of the total doses directly through a commercial entity to maintain commercial viability of the product.
Small producers will be able to access this bio-control at a much lower cost than a synthetic chemical product obtain the same or better results for pest control. In addition to the positive crop effects, use of biological control practices instead of traditional chemical pesticides provide greater health benefits to communities that currently access water with pesticide residue; preserve many of the microorganisms in the soil that are important for ecological balance.
Additionally, Zamorano will engage with smallholders to promote use of biologicals control products instead of traditional pesticides to control insect infestations in select horticultural crops.
Zamorano expects 75% of total production will be sold to smallholders. The activity has the potential to benefit more than 9,000 smallholder farmers paying special attention to women farmers.