About Us

X Sterile Insect Technique, or XSIT, is an initiative of the Citrus Research International (CRI) to commercialise the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for the control of T. leucotreta or FCM as it is more commonly known.

T. leucotreta is an endemic pest of the tropics with more than 80 different documented hosts. T. leucotreta established itself more than 40 years ago in South Africa with phytosanitary status, meaning that countries importing produce eg. citrus from South Africa maintains zero tolerance against this pest. Due to FCM resistance to the commonly used organophosphates and some other insecticides normally used to control FCM, the CRI, in association with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), PIP (Pesticide Initiative Program) and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) embarked upon a research project in Citrusdal in 2002 to develop SIT for application to FCM control.

PROTECTING YOUR AGRICULTURAL PERFORMANCE

This research led to a commercial trial in 2005 in Citrusdal. In only one season excellent results were obtained in the trail area with suppression of the FCM population and reduced FCM related fruit damage by 95% area. The results were welcomed by the industry and it was decided to commercialise this technique whereafter XSIT (Pty) Ltd was established by River Bioscience (the commercial sector of the Citrus Growers Association). The facility was erected in Citrusdal. Where the field research had been conducted and being the production region that provides the majority of the citrus fruit that is exported to the USA. The idea was that this would be the first phase of development, with the option of additional facilities within other major citrus producing areas, once the project is well underway and has proved to be economically viable and sustainable. The shareholding in this company is held by River Bioscience, the citrus industry’s own in-house technology commercialisation company (a subsidiary of the CGA).