L’ultime extinction ?

BONN – Les paysans africains livrent aujourd’hui une bataille inégale contre une mouche des fruits phytophage venue d’Asie. Cette variété de mouche, repérée pour la première fois en 2004 à Mombassa sur la côte kenyane, a depuis lors envahi le continent, décimant les manguiers et d’autres cultures et détruisant les moyens de subsistance des cultivateurs.

Pour tenter d’éradiquer ces mouches, le Centre international sur la physiologie et l’écologie des insectes (ICIPE) d’Afrique de l’Est a récemment envoyé une équipe au Sri Lanka pour identifier un prédateur naturel. Les chercheurs ont réussi à en localiser un, qui après des essais biologiques préliminaires méticuleux, devait pouvoir être libéré sans danger dans l’environnement africain, où il aurait pu détruire l’envahisseur indésirable.

Mais ce travail de pionnier est maintenant suspendu, comme le sont les attentes de millions de paysans pour une solution efficace et écologique à l’infestation : les pays d’Asie, et en fait tous les pays en développement, ne veulent plus exporter leurs ressources génétiques abondantes et importantes au plan économique.

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