MALAWI: AGRICULTURE/MBC/14/2/18 SABANews 1
BLANTYRE – The UNITED STATES Aid for International Development, USAID, is helping the people of MALAWI to fight the destructive fall armyworm.
MBC News says the USAID assistance has so far included media campaigns to educate farmers on pest identification and control as well as training sessions for farmers.
The group has also produced technical messages for use by extension workers and has distributed ONE-THOUSAND-400 pheromone traps as part of a national early warning system.
The national broadcaster says USAID has further funded a scheme to test 11 pesticides for efficacy in controlling fall armyworms.
It has facilitated a visit by SOUTH AFRICAN experts to assess the situation and provide training on pest identification, estimation of infestation rates, and control measures to public and private sector extension workers.
The move comes after a global experts gathering to produce an Integrated Pest Management Guide to help scientists, extension agents, and farmers tackle the voracious fall armyworm across the AFRICAN Continent.
MBC News says FALL ARMYWORM IN AFRICA: A GUIDE FOR INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT, is jointly run by the USAID Feed the Future Initiative, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize.
It says the guide contains tips on pest identification, available technologies, and best practices for managing fall armyworm; which was FIRST confirmed in AFRICA in 2016.
The guide is based on scientific evidence and has expert advice for plant protection groups, extension agencies, as well as research institutions.
It is also helpful to governments working with smallholder farmers to better understand fall armyworm and the major challenge it will pose to AFRICA for years to come.
The fall armyworm, which is native to the AMERICAS, can feed on 80 different crop species including maize, a staple food produced by more than 300-MILLION AFRICAN smallholder farm families.
MBC News also says since the 2016 discovery of the fall armyworm, the crop pest has since appeared in more than 30 AFRICAN countries, posing a significant threat to food security, income, and livelihoods.
The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International says without proper control, the fall armyworm can cause extensive maize losses of up to SIX-BILLION-600-MILLION US dollars per year across the 12 major AFRICAN maize producing countries./Sabanews/cam