FAO trains extension officers in fall army worm control

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has commenced the training of extension workers on the management and control of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) as part of the efforts to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security in Nigeria,  

The crop-eating moth, which have devastated maize crop in over 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, remains a scourge for farmers in the region.

FAO Country Representative to Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma at the opening of the training workshop in Kaduna, charged the extension workers to take advantage of the FAW resource materials developed by FAO coupled with what they have learned to ensure that the FAW’s impact on farmers within their communities are at barest minimal.

Mr. Koroma noted that the training will be extended to cover more states in the country.

 “FAO has continued to build and strengthen national capacity by conducting training and creating awareness to relevant stakeholders, especially agriculture and extension workers, on how to manage and control the pest. This training will be scaled-up to more states of the country” Koroma said,

The FAO also developed an android app to guide farmers and extension workers on real time detection and management of the FAW pest.

The Organisation is also supporting farmers with inputs such as, maize seed, fertilizer, herbicide, backpack Knapsack sprayer equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE).

FAO is working in 12 states (Borno, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Abia, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara, Osun states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT), training extension workers on FAW  basic biology, ecology, monitoring technique, reporting, biological control, cultural control, pest risk reduction, good agricultural practices (GAP), Integrated pest management (IPM), and  farmer field school (FFS) approach.

Participants at the training were drawn from six states namely, Borno, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano and the FCT,

At the end of the training, participants will be able to provide extension support to farmers in their communities, effectively monitor and report, and offer support that would reduce the risk of the pest invading farmlands without control.

The next phase of the training activities will target farmers directly in all the 12 states covered by the project.

Fall Armyworm (FAW) is believed to have originated from the Americas and was reported for the first time in Nigeria and some African countries in 2016. Biologically called Spodopterafrugiperda, the pest has a migratory habit and can spread fast, eating up crops on its path, Though with a special preference for maize, the invasive pest is capable of feeding on over 80 different crop species, like, sorghum, peanut, soybean, cowpea, cotton, sweet corn, forage, and others, causing severe effects on food production output and livelihoods.

The government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and FAO, signed a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) agreement in 2017 to curtail the spread of Fall Armyworm in Nigeria.