Since it was first reported in Tanzania in 1981 the Larger Grain Borer (LGB) has spread from a small area in the northwest of the country to 17 of the 20 regions. Only in the extreme south, along the Mozambique border, has the pest not been found. It has also become established in Kenya, Burundi, Togo and Benin.
LGB can cause very high weight loss in farm stored maize and dried cassava, commodities on which it is able to breed. After 5 months storage during the dry season in western Tanzania, mean losses of 9% were found, a much higher level than losses of less than 1% which would be expected in LGB-free areas in East/Central Africa.
Application of 0.5% permethrin dust at 2.8 ppm provides excellent protection against LGB when applied to loose maize grain for 1 year. However, the storage of shelled maize predisposes towards the development of Sitophilus species which can result in high losses being sustained. A “cocktail” of permethrin and pirimiphos-methyl, applied at 3.3 and 17.7 ppm respectively, successfully controls all storage pests and is currently being used in an extensive control campaign in Tanzania.
A multi-donor funded control and containment campaign, co-ordinated by FAO, has been in operation in Tanzania since 1984. The programme is comprised of a training element for agricultural staff and several field extension campaigns which assist with insecticide distribution and with dissemination of information to farmers. The primary objectives of the programme are to reduce farm storage losses and to contain LGB within the areas it is now found. In some regions, where LGB is relatively isolated, attempts are being made to eradicate it.