Coconut farms in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh in the Mekong Delta have recently suffered significant challenges due to many types of pests. The black-headed caterpillar poses the most alarming threat.
In July 2020, coconut-damaging black-headed-caterpillars were discovered in Phu Long Commune, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre. At first, caterpillars appeared across several thousand square meters. Up to now, Ben Tre Province has more than 1,500 hectares over 70 communes affected by black-headed caterpillars thus far.
Recognizing the urgent need in applying biological methods to fight black-headed caterpillars, Betrimex and Thanh Thanh Cong Sugar Application Research Joint Stock Company (SRDC) have cooperated to implement biological methods for pest control across both provinces.
Based on available experience from pest control in sugarcane and the successful export of biological methods to Laos, Betrimex and SRDC proposed an integrated method for safe and highly effective pest control, without harm to the environment, including spraying BSF oil, releasing red-eyed bees (Trichogramma spp.), preserving and promoting natural local enemies.
Additionally, these techniques are particularly appropriate for organic agricultural requirements.
As of 2022, Betrimex and SRDC supported the treatment of over 270 hectares of coconut infested by this biological method with 100% of their enterprise's funding.
Releasing red-eyed bees is a method to deal with coconut-damaging black-headed caterpillars. Photo by Nguyen Minh Luan
On Sep.13, Betrimex cooperated with SRDC in sponsoring an additional 37.5 million red-eyed bees to prevent coconut-damaging black-headed caterpillars across 500 hectares in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh province.
Accumulated from 2021 up to now, Betrimex and SRDC sponsored nearly 60 million red-eyed bees for black-headed caterpillar control.
Dr. Tran Tan Viet, chairman of SRDC, said: "The method of using natural enemies appeared a long time ago to control pests. Nowadays, biological solutions in pest control are becoming more and more popular due to its high efficiency and safety. The method of releasing red-eyed bees (Trichogramma spp.) is considered an effective tool to deal with coconut-damaging black-headed caterpillars".
Once released, red-eyed bees will grow exponentially. Other natural enemies will also have the opportunity to grow stronger in an environment that has the appearance of red-eyed bees. Subsequent (second, third) generations of red-eyed bees will continue to perform better in the wild.
Betrimex cooperated with SRDC in sponsoring an additional 37.5 million red-eyed bees to prevent coconut-damaging black-headed caterpillars in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh province. Photo by Betrimex
"The province promotes biological methods for pest prevention as the best solution to maintain and develop organic coconut production hubs, rather than chemicals or pesticides. The province's goal from now until the end of this year's rainy season is to control the coconut pest. Therefore, the distribution of 37.5 million red-eyed bees significantly contributes to controlling the impact of pests on coconuts," Huynh Quang Duc, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said.
After 45 years of construction and development, Ben Tre Import and Export Joint Stock Corporation (Betrimex) has become a leading company that specializes in processing and exporting coconut products. Betrimex has applied biological methods to protect organic coconut production hubs from coconut-damaging black-headed caterpillars.
Betrimex's coconut production hubs total more than 6,800 hectares and achieved Organic Certifications (EU, USDA, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Sweden), of which 1,700 hectares are in Tra Vinh Province. This organic material source ensures the high quality input source in line with the development trend of organic agriculture, organic processing, and producing organic products, which are also an urgent need of advanced countries in the world.