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Delegates to look at ways to deploy the most effective Fall Armyworm-combatting technologies in southern Africa

Delegates to look at ways to deploy the most effective Fall Armyworm-combatting technologies in southern Africa

The African Development Bank will on 26-27 July 2018, host “From Plan to Action,” a meeting on controlling Fall Armyworm in southern Africa.

The meeting will bring together ministerial level government representatives and experts from the government of Zambia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Sygenta Foundation, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to Lusaka, Zambia.

Key private sector representatives, seed companies, farmers and policy makers from Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, will also attend.

Fall Armyworm, or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. In its larva stage, it can cause significant damage to crops, if not well managed. The worm prefers maize but can feed on more than 80 additional species of plants including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.

Fall Armyworm was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, has since been detected and reported in all of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of Djibouti, Eritrea, and Lesotho.

Fall Armyworm is a dangerous transboundary pest with a high potential to continually spread due to its natural migratory capacity. Without appropriate action, it could cause 21 to 53 percent of maize yield losses in 12 African countries within five years. The value of these losses is estimated at between US$2.48 billion and US$6.19 billion. Northern Africa and Madagascar are also at risk.

As part of its Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) agenda, the African Development Bank established a Compact of Fall Armyworm to mobilize support from researchers and the public and private sector, to confront the menace. The Compact seeks to identify new technologies to combat the pest and distribute them to smallholder farmers across the continent.

Participants will look at ways to deploy the most effective Fall Armyworm-combatting technologies to tens of millions of smallholder farmers in the shortest possible time. One focus will be on the Syngenta Foundation’s seed treatment pesticide known as Fortenza Dou, considered effective against Fall Armyworm.

About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.

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