Fall armyworm threatening food security in Africa

Addis Ababa July 15, 2017 (FBC) - Fall armyworm has the potential to affect over 300 million people in Africa, who directly and indirectly depend on maize for food, according to International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE).

Speaking at a two-day workshop held in Addis Ababa Director of Research and Development at ICIPE, Dr. Sunday Ekesi said “Across Sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that over 13.5 million tons of maize valued at 3 billion US dollars is at risk from fall armyworm in the next year.”

Noting the importance of conducting a collective action to curb the spread of fall armyworm in a sustainable manner, he said “research organizations, government institutions, farmers’ organizations, private sector must combine our resources and our shared commitment to safeguard food and health of our communities in Africa.”

Developing the integrated pest management is of paramount importance to control the pest in safe, environmentally friendly, affordable and effective manner, he elaborated for the meeting gathered to discuss ways of preventing the pest.

Representatives of international and regional research institutions, private companies and countries affected y the pest were discussing means of prevention and control at the workshop held under theme: ‘Fall Armyworm Workshop for East Africa’.

The pest has spread to more than 25 African countries, with devastating impacts on over 1.5 million hectares of maize and other cereals, it was learned.

Ethiopia is one of the affected countries. Out of the total 2.4 million hectares land covered with maize in six regional states about 455,081 hectares of land was attacked by the pest.

Some 85 percent of affected land has been treated with pesticides and handpicking.

ICIPE Country Head in Ethiopia Tadele Tefera said “the impact of fall armyworm is high. Million of framers have been affected, millions of households have been affected, and how much yield to be reduced by this armyworm is yet to be determined.”

It is require regional action to manage the pest as it transcends borders he said, adding development partners, research institutions, among others need to join hands to stop the spreading the pest.

He stated that the workshop will create opportunity in sharing experiences, awareness creation among the participants on the control of fall armyworms.

Source: ENA

Posted by Amare Asrat