The MOSCAMED Programme
The MOSCAMED Programme
Maintenance of Mexico’s phytosanitary status as a Mediterranean fruit fly-free country


The Mediterranean fruit fly is considered to be one of the most economically important agricultural pests worldwide, as if affects the production and international marketing of more than 270 species of fruits and vegetables.

In 1978, the MOSCAMED Program was established in Mexico to eradicate the pest in the country, which it succeeded in doing in 1982. However, the appearance of the fly has been a recurring issue in the southern part of Chiapas, due to its proximity to Guatemala and the rest of Central America, where it has established itself.

The implementation of suppression and eradication strategies against the Mediterranean fruit fly, as well as the establishment of pest-free and low prevalence zones in the countries are the basis for possible regional eradication, in conjunction with an integrated fruit and vegetable development and health program to benefit the Region.

Towards a Solution

The Mediterranean fruit fly's integrated control is of paramount importance in countries where fruit and vegetable production is a linchpin of rural development. The incursion of this pest into Mexican territory, extending beyond its traditional border with Guatemala, would entail substantial financial losses. This stems from the necessity of imposing phytosanitary measures by nations free from the Mediterranean fruit fly.

The MOSCAMED programme stands as Mexico's foremost integrated pest management initiative, notably due to its numerous advantages. It boasts a reduced environmental footprint, amplified employment opportunities in rural regions, heightened fruit and vegetable output, and increased revenues for producers and exporters from the sale of premium, healthy products both domestically and internationally.

This programme has been instrumental in maintaining a robust containment barrier in the Chiapas and southern Tabasco communities, bordering Guatemala. This barrier has successfully prevented the Mediterranean fruit fly from gaining a foothold in Mexico. The programme operates under the joint leadership of the Mexican government, the United States, and Guatemala, with a unified organizational structure that mobilizes personnel from all three nations for technical guidance and administrative management.

Initially, the programme's mission was the eradication of the pest from Mexico, starting with its detection in the southern region. In 1982, after achieving this objective, the focus shifted to establishing and maintaining a containment barrier along the Mexico-Guatemala border, encompassing pest-free or low-prevalence zones across all Central American countries.

The programme employs integrated pest management (IPM) in vast regions of Chiapas and Tabasco, with a primary emphasis on the sterile insect technique (SIT). It also encompasses phytosanitary preventive measures like trapping nets and fruit sampling, diverse management techniques (autocidal, chemical, mechanical, legal, and biological control), and extensive outreach activities.

Preventing the entry, establishment, and spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly in Mexico has yielded direct benefits. These include expanded cultivation areas, higher yields, increased production, and access to fruit and vegetable export markets. Indirect benefits encompass the retention and creation of rural employment, greater consumption of high-quality produce enhancing nutrition, reduced agrochemical use resulting in diminished pesticide residue in exports, decreased medical expenses due to lower pesticide-related intoxications, fewer negative effects on pollinators averting secondary pest proliferation, and enhanced environmental protection overall.

The Mediterranean fruit fly-free status serves as a public good that facilitates the export of Mexican fruits and vegetables to coveted markets like the United States and Japan.

Between 2009 and 2017, exports of 26 Mexican fruits and vegetables to premium international markets, especially the United States, contributed a substantial USD 43.147 billion to the nation's earnings. This production represented 21% of the annual agricultural gross domestic product during the same period, while only utilizing 8% of the national agricultural area.

In 2019, the agricultural sector generated around USD 38 billion, with nearly USD 8 billion stemming from fruits and vegetables cultivated on a mere 7% of the country's agricultural land. This sector also provides over 4.7 million working days annually.

The programme's continuation relies on direct allocations from SENASICA and funds transferred to the IICA Delegation in Mexico through the Operational MOSCAMED Programme. Its success can be attributed to unwavering efforts, a long-term vision, territorial and regional approaches, innovative technology adoption, strategic partnerships, coordination mechanisms, and transparent, accountable processes. Internationally, it stands as the pioneer in eradicating the pest from a continental area using SIT-based integrated pest management.

Consequently, it has evolved into a robust public policy tool, efficiently maintaining a pest-free area that benefits Mexican producers of Mediterranean fly host fruits and vegetables, as well as exporters and domestic consumers.

In Mexico, the programme has contributed to the generation of new knowledge and technologies for the effective management of other pests in the country. It has laid the foundation for strategies like the National Anti-Fruit Fly Campaign.

The clear definition and establishment of common goals, harmonization of criteria for national and regional strategy implementation, inter-institutional coordination mechanisms, multi-country coordination, strategic partnerships, innovation, and technological development form the cornerstone for potentially eradicating the Mediterranean fruit fly from the region. This achievement promises significant benefits for the countries involved in future initiatives.

Contact Information

Luis Carlos Vargas Bolívar, Technical Specialist, Horizontal Cooperation Unit, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Countries involved

Guatemala, Mexico, United States of America

Supported by

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Implementing Entities

National Service for Agrifood Health,Safety and Quality (SENASICA)

Project Status


Project Period


URL of the practice

Primary SDG

03 - Good Health and Well-being

Primary SDG Targets

3.9, 3.d

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