The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) in Africa.
According to the FAO Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo, the guide would help small holder farmers and frontline agricultural staff to manage the spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in the continent.
“The guide builds on the experiences of farmers and researchers from the Americas who have been dealing with the pest for centuries as well on new technology and lessons learnt so far in Africa. It gives African farmers and frontline agricultural workers the practical advice they need to tackle FAW head-on,It provides support for a correct identification of this new foe for African farmers, and offers options to manage it in an integrated, ecological and sustainable way.”
Ms Semedo explained that Central and Southern Africa were particularly on high alert, as the main maize growing season is currently underway in the regions.
“We know that farmer education and community action are critical in best managing FAW, and curbing its spread as much as possible,”. She said
She therefore called on African countries likely to be affected to get prepared by re-enforcing early warning systems at community level, raising awareness among farmers, and using available materials, such as the guide.
The FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa. Bukar Tijani emphazied the need the tackle the nfestations of FAW in the continent.
“As FAW is new to Africa, farmers’ and crop protection and extension workers’ good understanding of the pest’s behavior and management practices are crucial in effectively managing it without damaging human health and the environment,” He said
The guide was developed with a host of partners: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Lancaster University, Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).