The only Bulgarian lab for industrial bioagent trichogramma production in the village of north-central Doyransti village, near Lovech, had the ambition to become the largest bio crop protection centre in the EU. Actually, it has been in operation less than a year in a sector where Bulgaria was once a leader. Before 1990 the country had six such labs, among the top producers of bio agents, the Manager of the Organic Invest Bio Protection OOD lab, Borislav Boychinov, told a news conference at the BTA Regional Press Club in Lovech.
There are 19 trichogramma species in Bulgaria, albeit not concentrated in one place.
The laboratory in Doyrantsi engages in the industrial production of a major biological control agent of plant pests, trichogramma, commonly employed throughout the world. Trichogramma is a genus of minute polyphagous wasps that are endoparasitoids of insect eggs. Today they are used against some 400 species of insects, which they keep in a natural balance without destroying. „This is very important for both the farmers and nature. A bio agent regulates the level of pests and preserves all other insects, including pollinating species or other pest controllers. It is unlike chemical pesticides which destroy all,” Boychinov explained.
The lab catches trichogramma in special traps set in the fields of various crops. They have their own selection bank for the various species. Trichogramma wasps are used for control on numerous crops and plants. These include cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, sugarbeets, orchards, and forests.
Boychinov said the laboratory, which is one of the largest in Europe, has the capacity to cover about 200,000 ha of various crops.
For over 20 year Boychinov had a similar enterprise in Ukraine, after which he decided to open one in the village near Lovech. He decided to give a new life to “something old and good, but forgotten,” to use his own words.
„The strangest thing is that the experience Bulgaria had was passed on to Germany and now trichogramma is employed there much more, coupled with state subsidies for farmers,” Boychinov added.
The most complicated part in trichogramma production is its dissemination, for that requires unmanned aerial vehicles.
Currently, the company works for Bulgaria alone, but it already has offers for Romania, Greece and Turkey. „We have been in operation for less than a year and there is still potential on the Bulgarian market. People are well informed, though, and we intend to spread to Romania soon,” the company manager said.
Smaller packaging of trichogramma for practically all types of crops are available for manual distribution for smaller farms.
The lab has a team of 35, including some Ukrainians.
Boychinov has the ambition to make it the largest bio crop protection centre in the European Union.