From the 13th to the 15th of November 2017, USAID and CIMMYT held a Regional Training and Awareness Generation Workshop on Fall Armyworm Pest Management for Eastern Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants from 11 countries attended the workshop to discuss short, medium and long term strategies to control Fall Armyworm in Africa. Following its accidental introduction into West Africa, the pest has spread quickly to the whole continent. The current and predicted yield loss to maize from FAW over the 2017-2018 season in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to reach US$ 3 billion.
With the objective of coordinating efforts and disseminating information on best practices to farmers as widely as possible, CABI, USAID and CIMMYT have been collaborating on a new project since the beginning of October. The project focuses on developing and publishing Pest Management Decision Guides adapted for each of the countries affected by Fall Armyworm on maize and other priority crops. The main concern of all participants was the use and misuse by farmers of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). This project will ensure that extension workers are aware of and provide only recommendations which are scientifically proven to effectively control Fall Armyworm, and eliminate the use of HHPs.
During the 3-day meeting, guest speakers gave presentations on the different control measures currently being used in Africa to control the pest. Discussions were also oriented around research needs and the importance of strengthening collaboration between countries to tackle the outbreak. Solutions such as identifying local biocontrol agents, push-pull strategy, habitat management for natural enemies and the use of low toxicity pesticides were included in the countries’ SWOT analysis activity and planning.
Léna Durocher-Granger had the opportunity to give a presentation on the different content dissemination tools developed for the Plantwise programme; Pest Management Decision Guides, Factsheets for Farmers, Mass extension campaign posters, and the Plantwise factsheet app. The participants welcomed the initiative and were eager to use and disseminate their locally-adapted PMDG as soon as possible.
Through this new collaboration, CABI, USAID and CIMMYT will ensure that information on the best practices for tackling the Fall Armyworm outbreak reaches as many farmers as possible.
For more information on Fall armyworm, visit: www.cabi.org/fallarmyworm