AFDB To Tackle Armyworm With Technologies

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will deploy an integrated approach and proven technologies in tackling the menace of fall armyworm in  African countries.

The resolution was arrived at  on Friday in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital,  at a high-level meeting on controlling fall armyworm in Central and West African states

TheElite Times reports that participants at the meeting were mainly representatives of the agriculture ministries from Central and West African countries.

Hon. Gaston Dossouhoui, Benin Republic’s  Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, who presided over the closing ceremony,  commended the organisers of the meeting.

The meeting was largely sponsored by  the AfDB  and the Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

The minister said the two organisations,  through  the forum,  had provided  a rare opportunity for Central and West African states to brainstorm and come up with proposals for possible funding and collaboration.

He urged officials from the two participating sub-regions  to evolve bankable proposals within three months  that could  facilitate the implementation of the solutions proffered at the meeting.

The advice, he said,  was given  taking into consideration the respective national contexts and circumstances of participating countries.

TheElite Times reports that the consensus of the meeting was a regional approach that emphasised Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) required to contain fall armyworm.

Other solutions proffered against the rampaging fall armyworm included awareness creation on holistic management and  training of stakeholders on the identification of fall armyworm.

Also recommended were synchronising cropping calendar and timely planting as well as  broad-based dissemination of information via technologies such as SMS and  apps.

Participants also agreed that work should start immediately to assess preferred crop varieties for resistance or tolerance to fall armyworm while classical biological control agents from the Americas should be introduced.

They further called for a conducive policy environment to  promote lower risk control options through short-term subsidies and rapid assessment and registration of bio pesticides and biological control products.

Dr Winfred Hammond, a food security expert as well as  resource person from Ghana, urged member-states to develop tools that were compatible with effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on fall armyworm.

“Tools such as seed treatment,  time of planting,  use of pheromones,  scouting for eggs and neonates,  mechanically damaging eggs and neonates and  bio-rational and bio-control agents are effective in these efforts,” he said.

Jean-Baptiste Bahama, an official of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), noted that  the operationalisation of the National Task Force on fall armyworm is key to efficiently coordinating preparedness and response through contingency planning.

He said it was on record that FAO had  responded to the fall armyworm situation in Africa by developing tools, resources and  installing of  capacity for fall armyworm early warning system.

Bahama added that FAO  also developed and ensured  coordinating pesticide policies at national, regional and global levels.


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