Integrated Pest Management of rice for consumption: EUREKA project
The EUREKA project “Integrated Pest Management of Rice for Consumption” was carried out integrating environmentally sound and sustainable technologies to replace conventional chemical treatments needed for protecting the quality of rice at different phases of post-harvest handling and storage to meet European standards. It started in June 2006 and ended in January 2009 with partnership of research institutions, industries and farmer associations from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Israel and the USA. The implementation of sampling programs using manual and electronic traps in storage facilities and premises showed to be an important tool for risk assessment (in time and space) and helped in decision-making as an IPM strategy. Consumer and regulatory agencies for environmental protection demand for chemical-free and contamination-free products. This is a general tendency that industry finds difficult to conform with because insecticides are often necessary to prevent economic damage. In addition, in many countries insects have been developing resistance to contact insecticides and to the fumigant phosphine. The most common non-chemical alternative identified in the rice storage and processing industry was using aeration to reduce the temperature of stored paddy rice. In summer, use of refrigeration units provided good solution for quality maintenance of paddy. During this project, rice mills applied modified atmospheres in silos and hermetic big bags as alternative control methods. The gas used (CO2) is comparatively safe and environmentally friendly and showed to be effective against key pests on both paddy and polished rice. The implementation of these strategies was reflected in the significant decrease of the number of rejected units of polished rice from 111 tons of packaged polish rice before the project (2006) to 7 tons until the end of the project (January 2009) and continued decreasing to reach only 500kg in June 2009, which may be interpreted as an increase in consumer satisfaction.