About Us

Welcome to the IOBC-ATRS website. The International Organisation for Biological Control – Afrotropical Regional Section (IOBC-ATRS) covers the area of South, Central, Eastern and Western Africa and associated islands – all countries except Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Africa has a long and successful history of biological control. Among the highlights are the biological control of the cassava mealybug, the cassava green mite and the mango mealybug, as well as the biological control of invasive alien plants, particularly in South, Western and Eastern Africa, and waterweeds in particular across the region. For a resource-scarce region such as sub-Saharan Africa, biological control provides a sustainable, long-term contribution to the control of agricultural and environmental pests. Several international institutions on the continent have spearheaded these efforts, with significant contributions from many national institutions.

IOBC-ATRS functions to connect the practitioners of biological control across the region, to allow the exchange of information and expertise, and to increase awareness of both novel and established pests across the continent, and efforts to control them. IOBC-ATRS also links African practitioners to the global biological control community, for their mutual benefit.

Members of the IOBC-ATRS are automatically members of the global IOBC. This allows members to apply for funding to attend various conferences, and members also receive the annual newsletter and email updates about events or opportunities in the biological control field. Members can also subscribe to the journal BioControl at a reduced fee. IOBC-ATRS is one of six Regional Sections of the International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC).

IOBC Global Sections

IOBC Global Regional Sections:

  • APRS (Asia-Pacific region)
  • ATRS (sub-Saharan Africa)
  • EPRS (Eastern Europe, northern Asia)
  • NRS (North America)
  • NTRS (Central and South America and the Caribbean)
  • WPRS (Western Europe, north Africa and the Middle East)

IOBC-ATRS Committee

Dr Costas Zachariades – President

Agricultural Research Council (ARC) South Africa
Email: ZachariadesC@arc.agric.za

Costas works as a Senior Researcher for the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa, based at Cedara in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. He completed his PhD in Entomology at Rhodes University, South Africa, on insect-plant interactions involving…….

the wild fig Ficus sur. Since 1996 he has been involved in the biological control of invasive alien plants, and in particular Chromolaena odorata, an asteraceous shrub originating in the Neotropics which is widely invasive across Africa.

Costas previously (2007-2014) acted as Convenor of the IOBC-Global Working Group on this weed, and from 2014-2018 he was the Vice-President of the newly reconstituted IOBC-ATRS. He is Officer-in-Charge at ARC’s Plant Health and Protection laboratory at Cedara, and an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Life Sciences of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dr Koffi Eric Kwadjo – Vice President

University Nangui Abrogoua, Côte d’Ivoire
Email: kokoferic@gmail.com

Dr. Koffi Eric Kwadjo has worked in the field of crop protection since 2001. He is interested in the interactions between insect pests, host plants and natural enemies. His research focuses on Integrated Pest Management through the use …….

of insect predators, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi, against fall armyworm and Nedopeta curta, a putative vector of the phytoplasma responsible of the lethal yellowish disease of coconut in Côte d’Ivoire.

He was the Treasurer of the executive committee of the International Organization of Biological Control, Afro-tropical section (2014-2018). Current Responsible of the Master Crop Protection at University Nangui Abrogoua, he has been fully involved in four major projects in Côte d’Ivoire. In 2016, he led a project on the development of the plan and training modules for national laboratory staff (8 countries) in the regional plan for fruit flies monitoring and control in West Africa.

He has produced 30 publications. He collaborates with researchers from several institutions such as Royal Museum of Central Africa (Belgium), Saint Xavier’s College (India), Sporometrics (Canada), Canadian National Collection of Insects (CNC), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Dr Samira Mohamed Faris – Vice President

icipe, Kenya
Email: sfaris@icipe.org

Samira Abuelgasim Mohamed is a senior scientist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya. She did her MSc in Crop Protection on the biological control of the cotton white fly using the parasitotoid Encarsia Formosa …….

at, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen the Netherlands and his PhD in Entomology at University of Gezira, Wad-Medani, Sudan.

Samira was the first African investigator to evaluate the efficiency of the indigenous African parasitoid species, especially in the genus Psyttalia, against the native African fruit flies. She carried out this study within the framework of the USDA funded project “African Tephritidae: Invasive Species Threatening U.S. Fruit & Vegetable Products” a research seeking to identify an efficient parasitoid for controlling C. capitata in US. Following the invasion of the African continent by the most devastating fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (initially described as B. invadens), which virtually crippled the fruit industry in Africa, Samira has been in the forefront in the classical biological control program targeting this pest. This program entailed introduction, evaluation and subsequent release of two efficient parasitoid species (Fopius arisanus and Diachasmimorpha longicaudata in Kenya and other African countries (which was spearheaded by Samira). Currently, the parasitoid is well established in several countries across the continent with up to 40% parasitism (in Kenya) on the target pest, thereby contributing to the suppression of this pest. Within a framework of a collaborative research project with international institutions, she also spearheaded the introduction of an efficient parasitoid from South America for classical biological control of Tuta absoluta, a destructive alien pest of tomato. Also, she is currently evaluating indigenous parasitoid species for their performance against Fall armyworm.

Samira acted as Vice-President 2 for the period 2014-2018 for IOBC-ATRS.

She has authored and co-authored over 60 peer reviewed articles. She is also a co-editor of the recently published book titled “Fruit Fly Research and Development in Africa: Towards a Sustainable Management Strategy to Improve Horticulture” (http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-43226-7).

Dr Désiré Gnanvossou – Secretary General

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-Benin)
Email: D.Gnanvossou@gmail.com

Désiré works as Senior Research Associate at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-Benin), Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin. He completed his PhD in 2002 in the Department of Entomology at Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands, on multitrophic interactions …….

involving cassava, Manihot esculenta, the cassava green mite, Mononychellus tanajoa and two predatory mites, Typhodromalus aripo and Typhrodromalus manihoti. From 1987 to 2008, he worked on diverse aspects of IPM of some major cassava pests and diseases in Africa.

From 2009 to date, his main research interests have been on the monitoring, ecology, classical biological control of the Oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis and development of integrated programs for managing tephritid fruit flies on fruit trees and fruit vegetables in West Africa, within a framework of a collaborative research project with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).

Over the last 4 years, he has been involved in a collaborative research project on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) with HarvestPlus managed from the headquarters at IITA-Ibadan, Nigeria. The focus here is on development and promotion, leading to the adoption of the yellow-fleshed cassava varieties. Désiré actively served as Secretary General in the Executive Committee of the Entomological Society of the Republic of Benin (SERB), from 2014 to 2017.

Ms Kim Weaver – Treasurer

Centre for Biological Control (CBC), Rhodes University, South Africa
Email: k.weaver@ru.ac.za

Kim works as the Community Engagement Officer at the Centre for Biological Control (CBC) at Rhodes University, in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), South Africa. She completed a BSc (Hons) in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University in 2009 and after a few years of working and exploring went on to do her Masters in Education at Rhodes University. Her role at the CBC includes taking biological control into our local communities, operations management activities within the CBC and report consolidating.

Dr René Noël Poligui – Past President

Email: rnpoligui@gmail.com

René Noel Poligui is a Lecturer and Researcher in the National Institute of Agronomy and Biotechnology (INSAB) of the University of Sciences and Technologies of Masuku, Franceville (Gabon).  He teaches and works in the field of plant protection, mainly in studies focused on tropical plant pests and related natural enemies.


Centre for Biological Control, Rhodes University, South Africa

The Centre for Biological Control is a research entity within Rhodes University, South Africa that was established in November 2017.  The CBC undertakes research into the biological control of invasive alien weeds and insect pests in an attempt to reduce the amount of pesticide sprayed.  The CBC, although based at Rhodes University comprises a consortium of research institutions, including the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of the Witwatersrand, Citrus Research International and the Agricultural Research Council.  Further CBC collaborates widely with institutions regionally and globally.  The CBC has some 50 research and technical staff and currently supervises 46 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Read more here