The Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) was established in 2017 as collaborative initiative between Macadamia South Africa NPC (SAMAC), the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) and the University of Pretoria. The programme is headed by Dr Gerda Fourie, with the major research focus on macadamia plant diseases and pests.
Macadamia is one of the fastest growing agricultural industries in the country and is of economic importance to South Africa. The industry is however hampered by a number of pests and diseases which can cause major economic loss, both in terms of yield as well as nut quality. The industry currently relies heavily on the use of commercially available pesticides and chemicals for pest and disease control.
Research conducted within the MPP aims to develop and improve pests and diseases management. These strategies may range from the introduction of natural enemies or biological control, disruption of the pest’s reproductive systems, planting of resistant cultivars as well as timely application of chemicals or pesticides. Effective implementation of these, are built on information regarding pest identity, population dynamics, disease cycle, infection biology, epidemiology and spread. Such information, however, is often lacking or not well understood. The current research focus areas of the MPP will aim to fill these knowledge gaps.