NANFA-- Biocontrol of water hyacinth in West Africa

Sajjad Lateef (
Wed, 7 May 2003 12:08:18 -0700 (PDT)

Superweed-eating beetles save Benin millions

LONDON (Reuters) - The tiny West African country of Benin has saved
millions of dollars by enlisting the help of beetles that devoured a
weed choking its lakes, killing fish and disrupting transport,
according to new research.

"Two species of beetle are credited with saving the economy of Benin in
West Africa $260 million over 20 years," New Scientist magazine said on

The insects proved to be the most effective weapon against the water
hyacinth, a fast-growing weed that has turned into a major problem on
many African lakes and waterways, and succeeded where expensive
chemicals and harvesting methods had failed.

Peter Neuenschwander at the International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture in Cotonou in Benin, did an economic analysis of the
biocontrol of the weed. He calculated the saving on the basis of money
saved on more expensive control methods, and improvements to fishing
and the transportation of goods.

"Neuenschwander estimates that over 20 years the economic benefits of
control exceeded the research costs by a factor of more than 120. And
that's ignoring the benefits to the rest of Africa," the magazine


Sajjad Lateef
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,